“Mothers are death.”
“Can’t argue there.”
Before typing this review, I found myself humming The Beatles, Back in the USSR. A song that you’ll equally begin to hum, should you ever sit down and watch 2001’s, Heartbreakers. It’s been 20 years since this twisted comedy about a mother-daughter duo of con artists came across cinema screens. Therefore, introducing us to not only a different side to Sigourney Weaver, but a more “musical” side of an already talented actress. Please excuse me while I search for why I honestly enjoy Heartbreakers as much as I do. This guilty pleasure, as some may refer to it, doesn’t even begin to sum up what I think about it.
For those who haven’t seen the film, I implore you to give it a chance. Heartbreakers is about two women conning their way through America’s richest bachelors — or at least the sleaziest, enough money in the bank, type-of-guys. A mother-daughter duo like no other as Weaver plays Max Conners, a woman who learned the art of the con from her bestie, Barbara (Anne Bancroft), when she was left by her man with no money in the bank and a newborn baby. Page (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is Max’s daughter, with an tough persona and a sharp tongue to boot. The two have been spending years conning men, marrying them, and divorcing them after Max catches that man with his pants down, literally. Their latest “victim” is Dean (Ray Liotta), who has his own discrepancies with buying and selling stolen cars.
Dean is Page’s last con with her mom, or so she thinks. Max insists Page isn’t ready to go out on her own. The two begin to clash as Max makes a proposal. This next con will be their last mother-daughter score, which will be their biggest one yet. Their eyes are set on an extremely wealthy, severely aging, chain-smoker named William B. Tensy (Gene Hackman). A man who’s worth a pretty penny, but also looks like he has one foot in the grave. However, even with this duos immense experience, this con doesn’t go exactly as they planned.
You may be thinking to yourself, with your eyes rolling to the back of your head, why would I possibly make time to review Heartbreakers. Well, it’s the film’s 20th anniversary! Let’s celebrate! Nah, but all jokes aside, I honestly find this film to be entertaining. Sure the film is filled with sexual innuendo after sexual innuendo, and borders on the unpleasantness of almost ramming the sexual jokes down your throat only to nudge you and say, “isn’t that funny?” But my biggest take away here is Weaver’s elegant look as the risqué jokes fall from her lips. It’s definitely a departure from her usual dramatic or action-packed characters. Weaver’s chemistry with Jennifer Love Hewitt is spot on as their mother-daughter repartee can’t help but make you laugh. As you watch the movie, the cast of supporting characters add loads of humor to the film. From Ray Liotta’s sarcastic one-liners to Gene Hackman’s sickening persona, this is an ensemble comedy.
In the 21st century, in the new era of women, this may not be the movie to paint women in a flattering light. The film’s screenplay, after all, was written by three men, and often shows the male characters as a little more sympathetic than the women. However, there’s something so immensely satisfying about seeing a woman who can stick it to an scummy guy. With its ups and downs, this is no perfect movie, and some may find it incredibly appalling, but I just find it fun. Heartbreakers won’t be on anyone’s top favorite movies of all-time list, but like with any balanced movie-watching diet you have to have your dessert, and Heartbreakers is by far the most decadent.
Directed by: David Mirkin
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ray Liotta, Gene Hackman, and Anne Bancroft