March 15, 2001

Breaking Stride

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Going into a movie advertised as starring Jennifer Love Hewitt and featuring more cleavage than Erin Brockovich, I had my doubts. I found, however, that Heartbreakers had more to offer than one might expect.

Although there was plenty of Hewitt and plenty of cleavage, it was still possible for even the most spiteful girl to look past such things.

Hewitt, typecast as the angelic friend, moves comfortably from her usual mold into the part of a young, yet seasoned, con-woman. Sigourney Weaver plays the other half of this mother-daughter team.

Set in Palm Beach, Florida, where things are green and actually alive, the movie is a pleasant escape from the fiercely cold atmosphere in Ithaca. Weaver and Hewitt artfully earn a living by seducing rich men into marrying Weaver. Soon after the wedding, Hewitt prances, scantily clad, around the husband and he is inevitably seduced anew. Weaver catches the two while they are in a compromising position and after a massive divorce settlement in favor of the mother and daughter, the women split.

I found that, as much as I wanted to pout and hate this movie, I had to laugh (quite loudly at times). There were genuinely funny parts throughout the movie. The plotline does have its flaws, as it is generally superficial, but what does one expect from a movie called Heartbreakers?

The various glitches in the writing, little lines that may cause a few eyes to roll, are forgivable as long as nobody expects too much depth behind the babes in the sparkly outfits.

The writers save themselves from time to time with humorous moments that are strategically placed throughout the film and well relayed by the actors.

The ever charming Jason Lee (Mallrats) plays Hewitt’s eventual love interest and delivers some of the movie’s funniest moments. Ray Liotta, who plays one of the men conned by the Weaver-Hewitt team, is surprisingly funny considering many of his previous roles as a convincingly scary gangster.

But perhaps the acting highlight of the movie is the tobacco tycoon and target for one of Weaver’s gold-digging schemes played by Gene Hackman. Hackman is brilliant, coughing and hacking throughout the film and adjusting his dentures periodically as he deftly portrays his nauseating character.

As with most superficial, yet entertaining movies, there is a sweet moral hidden behind all the swearing and excessive sexual innuendo. It seems to be something like “love is good.” Sounds fine to me.

Archived article by Stacy Williams