Heartbreakers (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I re-watched Heartbreakers on DVD, and found myself liking it a lot more the second time around. While it isn't brimming over with originality, it is fairly funny in general, and Ray Liotta is very funny. It seems to me that Liotta is one of those guys who could be another Leslie Nielsen - kind of a run-of-the-mill performer in dramas who could find a niche as a comic performer late in his career. 

In fact, Liotta is also very good in Blow as a nice guy, and wasn't bad as Sinatra in The Rat Pack, which leads us to an overwhelming question. If he's so good in comedies and musicals and as a nice guy, why has he spent his entire life playing low-rent thugs? Answer: he did it once or twice, it worked, and Hollywood didn't let him walk away from it to show that he could do other things.

By the way, as I said the first time around, my daughter (age 15) thought that this movie was completely hilarious. I laughed out loud a couple of times. Katya laughed throughout. She was on the floor through the scene where the corpse fell on Sigourney. (Sigourney said "my God, you're so enormous", Liotta saw it, didn't know the guy was dead, and assumed they were making nice-nice.) To me, it seemed like I had seen it all before somewhere.


none, but plenty of cleavage, JLH showing a good portion of her bottom when her dress comes up to her waist, and Ray Liotta in his briefs

none in the deleted scenes

The same trend toward age polarization can be found in the general public's reaction: 

IMDb, people aged 30-44, say 6.2 (about like two and a half stars)

IMDb, people aged 0-18, say 7.5 (about like three and a half stars)

It's a comedy about mother/daughter con artists. The usual scam goes like this: mom marries the rich guy, then daughter seduces him in a place where mom can catch them in flagrante. That would be Flagrante, Florida, not Flagrante, Italy. Divorce. Payoff. Next victim. 

The daughter wants out, wants to go off on her own, but finds that she isn't hard enough to be a professional con artist, and falls in love. 

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1

  • two original documentaries: making-of and "laughs and gaffs". They really had a good time making this film

  • two separate audio commentaries: director, and cast

  • 19 deleted scenes with or without commentary


On the one hand

  • The scams weren't extraordinarily clever or deceptive, the jokes were too far apart for my taste, and the comic timing wasn't always great. Neither Sigourney nor Love is an especially great comic performer, but neither did they embarrass themselves, and the audience seemed to have a good time when I saw it this spring in the theater.

  • The scene transitions were clumsy. It is still about two hours long, but it must have been a much longer movie that suffered nearly a half-hour of trimming, possibly at the last minute.

On the other hand

  • The two women looked spectacular

  • And I love the way Liotta goes fishing. Reminds me of a comic bit I wrote but never used, for our show back in the 80's, where two guys from the New York mob are trying to pose as locals in a Texas county fair, and have to participate in a hog-calling contest. Instead of shouting "soo-eee", they cock their guns and say calmly but threateningly, "hey, ya fokkin pig, get da fock ova heah". Later, we see them wearing their hog-calling blue ribbons.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two and a half stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 2/4

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 48% positive overall, but a only 32% from the top critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.7, quite good for a comedy. 
  • With their dollars ... mediocre. Made for $40 million, grossed $40 million.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, it's a C or a C+. If you're among the target audience - if you're young and love comedies with a little underlying romance - this is not bad at all.

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