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Click above to purchase "HeartBreakers: Special Edition" at amazon.com

 

HeartBreakers
Special Edition

review by Zach B.

 

Rated PG-13

Studio: MGM

Running Time: 123 minutes

Starring Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ray Liotta, Jason Lee, Jeffery Jones and Gene Hackman

Written by Robert Dunn and Paul Guay & Stephen Mazur

Directed by David Mirkin

Retail Price: $26.98

Features: Audio Commentary with Director David Mirkin, Audio Commentary with Director David Mirkin, Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt, The Making Of HeartBreakers, Laffs & Gaffes, Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary with David Mirkin, Theatrical Trailer, "The Princess Bride" DVD Trailer

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Spanish 5.1 Surround, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (26 Scenes)

Ah, ye olde scam artist comedy! There hasn't been one of these for awhile. Sure there's been cons and grifters in films, but it really has been a bit since there was a movie really focused on cons and the chemistry between the stars. The premise of "HeartBreakers" find Max and Page Connors (played by actresses Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt), a mother and daughter con team who ring in the cash of what seems to be a tired and true strategy: The two disguise themselves, Max marries a man, Page gets them to cheat, Max catches the two and they get a nice divorce settlement. However, things start to become a bit screwball when Max goes after a wealthy tobacco giant while Page actually begins to fall in love with a bar owner named Jack (Jason Lee). Will the con succeed, or will the two learn something from all of this?

So that's the premise of "Heartbreakers," spring 2001's modest comedy. I'll first get the bad out of the way: this movie does not live up to its premise. I really expected more out of it, as I feel there could have been a lot better lines and a lot more zanier and thoughtful situations. Yes there is wackiness and yes there are some funny moments, but nothing really laugh out loud funny. There are one-liners and visual jokes, but considering what this movie has in production values and the cast, I was just expecting some more witty writing and something a lot more inspired. A lot of it just seems standard. Basically, this movie runs too long in length and had a lot more potential than what it gives. Despite how long it has been in development, if they really added in some more banter, more tension and in all, a lot more laughs. A lot of stuff here just doesn't seem so fresh or new.

Now that the bad is out of the way, we can focus on the good. While this movie would be average, it does stand out and works a lot better than the material provided due to the great cast. Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt make a great sexy, scheming con team and pull off great impressions and really have great chemistry. They were perfectly cast and have strong, light performances. Ray Liotta breathes great life into his supporting performance and has great comic timing and power. Jason Lee and Gene Hackman also shine, like usual, in their smaller roles as well.

David Mirkin, a vet of "The Simpsons," takes this comedy and makes it what it is. He has a pretty solid directing approach, but considering his previous work before him I expected a much funnier movie. Still, the two hours do go by rather quickly and the editing and the pacing is good. The script also brings some unexpected twists and turns, which I really did enjoy. So if you like comedies and good comedic acting, "HeartBreakers" is worthing looking into.

The film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and this is rather of a disappointing transfer since this is one recent film. We are treated to a good deal of blemishes, pieces of dirt, scratches and other little annoyances in the first chapter, and while those comes back here and there, from then on after things clean up... but they still are noticeable when they come back. The film also doesn't look so sharp in a good amount of places as at times the image sorta seems to be a bit "faded out." Detail is okay, while hues, color saturation and flesh tones are a little bit above average. Add in grain and you have yourself a far from perfect, less than pristine transfer. It's really quite a shame, considering how recent this movie is. Shimmering and noise is also on the transfer too, plus some halo around the characters. MGM really needed to put some more effort in here, but it's not disastrous by any means.

"HeartBeakers" features 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks in English, French and Spanish. This mix is surprisingly decent. Danny Elfman's rich and quirky themee that is played throughout the movie is well mixed, while the score from John Debney, when used, also sounds particuarly well. .1 LFE is very good on this track, while surrounds come in all forms. A dead body, cars... there's good fidelity and active stuff in here. So, it's not demo but on par for a comedy film. English subtitles, Spanish subtitles and French subtitles, plus English closed captions are included.

This special edition has some pretty good features, and it seems everything comes in twos with it... like the two con artists in he movie. Two trailers, two documentaries, two commentaries and twenty-two deleted scenes... okay, the box says 22 but there are really nineteen. Still, this is a pretty nifty special edition.

The Audio Commentary with Director David Mirkin is one of two. He goes solo here, and delivers a pretty stellar session here. Even though he describes action on screen a portion of the time, Mirkin is relaxed as he talks about what he wanted, what he was going for and some pretty interesting and fairly entertaining stories from the set. He talks about locations, how he got the movie and the like too. Worth a listen if you liked the movie.

The second, and much more fun Audio Commentary is with Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt and David Mirkin. This is quite a treat, as the three have sat down together and offer a lot of fun right off the bat. Mirkin asks them questions, and the two stars respond as well as ask him questions too. A lot of Weaver's comments are hilarious and deadpan, while Hewitt offers some fun stuff too. Mirkin is a bit more serious, but does have some fun here too. A lot of laughs in the track and you'll laugh too. This track is not technical by any means, but again, it's fun and you will gain some info out of the movie. One of the more lighter and far more entertaining tracks I've listened to lately that is really worth your time.

The Making Of Heartbreakers is your usually promotional featurette that is presented in full frame. Interviews with producers John Davis and Irving Ong, David Mirkin, Sigourney Weaver, Ray Liotta, Gene Hackman and Jennifer Love Hewitt. This featurette, with it's corny narrator, film clips (in letterbox widescreen), behind the scenes footage and usual interviews is pretty run of the mill. Still, you can learn some facts as this movie went through some pretty big name stars, not to mention it was originally about a father and son team.

The second "documentary," entitled Laffs & Gaffes is more of the same. Film clips and interviews are featured (with the likes of Lee, Hewitt and Mirkin), where it focuses on the "serious actors" doing fun stuff. Basically, this eleven-minute featurette has some bloopers and chronicles little things about funny things. Pretty fluffy, but you can laugh here and there.

There are ninteen Deleted Scenes, each with Optional Audio Commentary from David Mirkin. They are in two channel sound and non-anamorphic widescreen, but the quality is pretty good. They feature edge enhancment. In any case, some scenes are extensions and others were cut. You can see why, as this movie is long enough as it is. Still, Mirkin offers his two cents on the cuts, as some scenes he didn't want to lose. Some of these scenes build, others don't. Nice to watch though as they last abou twenty-two minutes in total (there's another two connection!).

Finally, we have a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen Theatrical Trailer and a full frame The Princess Bride DVD Trailer (might as well cross promote).

"Heartbreakers" is a pretty decent comedy, which works better than one may expect due to its great cast. While the transfer is disappointing and the sound mix is good, the extras will delight fans of the movie. Worth a rental, but worth it if you want it in your collection.

(3/5 - NOT included in final score)

(3/5)

(3.5/5)

(3/5)

(3/5, NOT an average)

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