WILL ACTORS BREAK A LEG IN “HEARTBREAKERS”?

* * * out of 4 stars (PG-13)
CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: Sean Means (film.com), A.O. Scott (New York Times), Desson Howe (Washington Post), Rob Blackwelder (splicedwire.com), Michæl Elliott (christiancritic.com), Eleanor Ringel Gillespie (accessatlanta.com), Steve Rhodes (internetreviews.com), Sébastien Pharand (moviefanonline.com), Lawrence Toppman (Charlotte Observer), E! Online (eonline.com), Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times), James Berardinelli (reelviews.net), John Zebrowski (Seattle Times)
Jennifer Love Hewitt stars in her first adult role in Heartbreakers. Unfortunately, some adults are not too impressed. These adults, of course, are movie critics.
Heartbreakers is a movie about a mother and daughter con team – Max (Sigourney Weaver) and Page (Jennifer Love Hewitt). The con? Max convinces rich men to marry her and Page secretly uses her hot body to seduce each husband. While each cheating husband targets Page’s busts, Max storms the room and – BUSTED! Divorce suits are filed and it’s payday!
Sean Means (film.com) said, “The movie’s main weakness is Hewitt, who is usually deployed to stand front-and-center for the ‘Baywatch-Cam,’ dressed in the world’s largest collection of micro dresses (collected by costume designer Gary Jones). She isn’t asked to do much more, and there’s not much evidence of a deeper talent to be called upon anyway.”
One day you’re going to eat those words, Sean. I believe there is a lot of potential in Love. Just read my letter in Movieline (April 2001, pg.12). Love aspires to be the next Julia Roberts. Given better material, I think she can do it. I just hope future work brings her a script that’s more than skin deep. With proper direction, she could go far. Regardless, Hewitt was one of the main reasons this film succeeded.
A.O. Scott (New York Times) said of the mother/daughter team, “Though there isn’t much physical resemblance between them, the hard edge that Ms. Hewitt displays – the flip side of her usual bouncy sweetheart persona – makes their relationship convincing.”
Desson Howe (Washington Post) disagrees: “Trust me, you’ll want to leave these people to get on with their tedious scams alone.”
Sorry, Howe. You’re proof we can never trust a critic. Weaver and Hewitt are both great together and that’s the only reason we are able to sit through this 123 minute comedy.
– “A clear-cut case of perfecto casting.” Rob Blackwelder (splicedwire.com)
– “The two actresses give ‘Heartbreakers’ an air of slick self-confidence.” A.O. Scott (New York Times)
– “Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt both convincingly play women who rely on their physical beauty and sexual allure to get men to do their bidding.” Michæl Elliott (christiancritic.com)
– “Weaver and Hewitt are quite good together.” Eleanor Ringel Gillespie (accessatlanta.com)
– “In short, the deliciously caustic chemistry between Weaver and Hewitt is the best part of the movie.” Steve Rhodes (internetreviews.com)
– “One of the film’s best asset is the Hewitt-Weaver duo.” Sébastien harand (moviefanonline.com)
Lawrence Toppman (Charlotte Observer) said, “The clumsy romance between Page and a bartender (Jason Lee) is a failure plot-wise – he has no reason to be charmed by her rude, bizarre behavior – and chemistry-wise. Lee’s merely dull, but Hewitt’s awful. Or maybe I’m being too hard: She gives an adequate performance, except when she has to speak or face the camera.”
Gee, Lawrence. You’re review would have been perfect had your fingers never touched the computer keypad! It wasn’t the best romance (a better script would help), but what bartender wouldn’t be charmed by the likes of Love’s hot looks and strange character?
E! Online (eonline.com) got it right: “The ‘Party of Five’ star is a natural, taking a cleavage lesson from Erin Wonderbra-kovich, scamming many a man and va-vooming into JasonLee’s heart.”
I remember Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) was negative about Julia Roberts’s provocative clothes in “Erin Brockovich,” yet here he said, “‘Heartbreakers’ is ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ plus Gene Hackman as W.C. Fields, plus Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sigourney Weaver walking into rooms wearing dresses that enter about a quarter of an inch after they do. I guess that’s enough to recommend it.”
Even James Berardinelli (reelviews.net) commented on the skintight clothes and bumpy bosoms: “It makes Erin Brockovich look restrained.”
Sometimes your thinking just dumbfounds me, Roger.
Once Dean (Ray Liotta), a rich husband victim, rejoins the story – things get real funny. Gene Hackman (William) is an annoying smoker, but his over-the-top performance makes it excusable. Small parts by Ann Bancroft, Jeffrey Jones, Nora Dunn and Carrie Fisher complete the “perfecto casting.”
John Zebrowski (Seattle Times) sums the movie up best: “‘Heartbreakers’ is one of these guilty pleasures. It offers nothing to the history of cinema; it won’t make the world a better place. But it is funny, and for two hours it’ll make your problems melt away.”
The actors in this 3 star movie don’t just break hearts; they break a leg and make this uncommonly long comedy worth watching.
–CRITIC DOCTOR




Posted on April 6, 2001 in Features by
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