Heartbreakers


2 bone dog

PG13
Stars:    Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ray Liotta, Jason Lee, Gene Hackman
Director:   David Mirkin
Writers:    Robert Dunn, Paul Guay, and Stephen Mazur

Sexy gals do naughty business in funny situations. Max (Weaver) and Page (Hewitt) are a mother-daughter con team that seduce and scam rich men up and down the east coast. First, well-appointed Max seduces the men into marrying her, then in comes sexy, slinky Page to seduce them. Once infidelity is proved, Max moves from the bedroom to the courtroom and takes them for whatever she can get – and it usually involves big bucks. With the divorce secured, the women move on to their next victim.

Despite the funny set up, Max has some real issues dealing with her daughter who desperately wants to go out on her own. Mama Max doesn’t think Page is ready and frankly, she has too good a thing going in keeping her close.

After the girls neatly dispose of their first victim, New Jersey auto “chop shop” owner Dean Cumanno (a delightful Ray Liotta), the IRS, in the form of a spiteful agent (Anne Bancroft) announces that their bank account has been drained for back taxes. Page reluctantly agrees to help Max with one last job in order to get them both back on their feet.

Moving on to richer breeding grounds in Palm Beach, they locate their next victim, an aging tobacco executive named William B. Tensy (Gene Hackman). He chain-smokes, hacks like an old dog and looks like an old dog’s butt, but he’s worth over twenty million.

Posting as Russian aristocrat Ulga Yevanova, Max weasels herself into Tensy’s heart while Page infiltrates his home as his skimpily-clad housekeeper. Then, while running this scheme with her mother, Page also works a new mark, a local bar owner (Jason Lee) whom she discovers is worth a mere three-million dollars. Problems develop when Page finds herself actually falling in love with the affable and good-looking Jack Withrowe and Max’s former husband Dean makes an unexpected appearance.

Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt provide quite funny characterizations with believable mother-daughter chemistry. Ray Liotta handles his comic elements admirably. But Gene Hackman is truly the prize in this charming box of cracker-jacks. His performance as the wheezing, rich lush is hilarious beyond belief. Nora Dunn also does a terrific job in the small role as Tensy’s maid whom the girls frame for house robbing.

Lotta says a well crafted script with wonderfully wacky characters makes for good, sexy fun

Reviewed 11/1/01