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Jordan Hiller on Film


Heartbreakers(PG-13)

 


I think George Clinton said it best when he commented, after licking, as opposed to shaking, a woman's hand in the classic movie PCU, "It's just the dog in me baby". Well, the dog in all of us cannot but enjoy leering at the bountiful feast that is Jennifer Love Hewitt set before us in the sour and bleak attempt at comedy, Heartbreakers. Her outfits become increasingly tighter, sexier, and more supportive and we can be sure that the makers of this movie know what their product and her assets are and intend to exploit them to the utmost. And Hewitt, being a young attractive woman coming up in the world, takes great pride in her toned physique. She has crafted the perfect room entering sashay to be her personal trademark as she completes this draw dropping feet at least a dozen times (in different slinky dresses of course). The camera ogles her, the characters on screen do the same, and the audience can't help but follow. I am going on about Ms. Hewitt's appearance merely because I am well aware that seventy percent of this movies box office will come from males interested in a little harmless histaklus (translation: being a dog). As far as her acting is concerned…I don't think Kirsten Dunst or Julia Stiles need worry about who's going to get the quality roles for young women. Love is more screen candy than screen presence. In any event, my report back to the canine masses is bring a few zip-loc bags to store all drool and see the movie with guys only please- because women tend to not appreciate crude sexual remarks beginning with "what you would do if". Women, there is no good reason to see this movie.


The movie itself is intensely unlikable, abounding with repulsive personalities, save Jason Lee's sincere bartender. Being that the plot revolves around a swindling Mother/Daughter con team consisting of Hewitt and Sigourney Weaver as Page and Max Conner, we expect ruthless underhandedness and the victimizations of some poor saps, but the saving grace we would hope for, humor, to redeem the depravity and maintain our sympathies, never arrives.


You might wonder what kind of a mother would allow her daughter to involve herself with such a dangerous and degrading business (degrading is an understatement). The answer would be the worst kind and Weaver's Max is loathsome times ten; although, I can't imagine the filmmakers intended for her to come off this badly. The lifestyle she has built with her daughter is one of desperation, filled with deceit and manipulation. Max is so hardened by her past (man went and left her pregnant) that she has grown incapable of relating to her daughter on any emotional level. All that remains is the desire to preserve self and to do this money is needed. Her daughter only provides the necessary means to attain this desire. Is this the stuff on which to base a comedy?


The con theme has been a tried and true source for laughs in movies (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Trading Places) but writers Robert Dunn and Paul Guay have taken the nastiness quotient too far by removing all of their con artist's humanity. When the Conner women suddenly fall to the floor and begin tickling each other (the director's attempt to depict some sort of loving bond between the two) we feel like the movie reels have been switched (maybe now we're watching Mermaids!).


Their first victim is played with gusto by Ray Liotta who wrings out a solid comedic performance as a good-hearted chop-shop guy from Jersey. Why he would be interested in a stone cold bitch like Max, who requires Weaver to do some embarrassingly kinky scenes that she probably shouldn't even have done five years ago, is beyond me. Sometimes it's a little uncomfortable watching a woman of her age (your Mom's age!) strip down to some negligee and stick her tongue in a guy's ear, but that's just me - maybe you'd like it. Liotta, at times, resurrects the spirit of Henry Hill, his blistering Goodfellas character and it makes us wish he would receive some better, more challenging roles.


Gene Hackman shows up as a gruesome old millionaire who has a love affair with cigarettes (who doesn't!). And while he coughs and wheezes his way through an amusing part, you cannot be expected to laugh every time the man hocks up a lung, nearly collapses, or expresses his deep fondness for all things tobacco.
Finally there is poor Jason Lee, who might have been misinformed as to what he signed on for. Lee is so much better than this movie, playing a character struggling to understand the schizophrenic Page, that it is shameful that "Heartbreakers" will forever blemish his résumé. He should have realized something was amiss when the script called for him to woo Page by taking her onto the beach and showing her his favorite constellations (haven't we seen that somewhere before…. oh yeah, in every bad movie). Do any real men know anything about stars?! Though the best feature of Lee's character is observing the course of his relationship with Page. She arrogantly berates him, crashes his car, endlessly toys with and mocks him, and creates other catastrophes in his life that I shall not name lest you intend to see the movie, yet he still takes her in with open arms of - you guessed it - "love". I think that is just great and do you know why? Because it is realistic and adequately illustrates the value of this movie. It shows a powerless man unable to resist Jennifer Love Hewitt in all her bodacious glory, overlooking her every non-physical flaw. Because he, like all the men in theatre, are doing it all for the nookie.

Reviews by Jordan Hiller

Trembling Before G-d

Girlhood

Veronica Guerin

Pieces of April

Wonderland

Bubba Ho-tep

Casa De Los Babys

Dummy

American Splendor

Gigli

The Holy Land

Return from India

The Shape of Things

City of Ghosts

Anger Management

Levity

The Guys

Assassination Tango

Gaudi Afternoon

Spun

Nowhere in Africa

Foreign Sister

Spider

Relentless

L’chayim, Comrade Stalin
part 1

part 2

Chicago

Divine Intervention

The Pianist

Best films of 2002 1992

8 mile


Punch Drunk Love


Signs


Gaza Strip

The Kid Stays in the Picture

MIB II

Minority Report

Insomnia

Spider-Man

Spring Movie Preview 2002

Panic Room

The Oscar Preview 2002

Royal Tenenbaums

Harry Potter

The Man who Wasn't There

From Hell

Training Day

Hearts in Atlantis

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

the others

Planet of the apes

Jurassic Park III

A.I.

Shrek & Atlantis

The Mummy Returns

Enemy At the Gates

Heartbreakers

Exit Wounds

15 Minutes

You Can Count on Me

The Mexican

Down to Earth

Meet the Parents

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Tribeca FIlm Festival 2003

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The Shape of Things


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Persona Non Grata


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