Something of a cross between Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) and Anywhere But Here (1999), Heartbreakers gets considerable mileage out of a few inventive star turns, but is eventually undone by director David Mirkin's utter lack of skill in pacing the broad comedy's latter half. After a ham-fisted intro segment, Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt settle into their mother-daughter con-team roles nicely. They're soon aided by relaxed, likeable contributions from veteran Gene Hackman and indie-film refugee Jason Lee -- both of whom have the ability to make any hackneyed line or plot contrivance believable and organic. Unfortunately, the plot has little use for them, and when it begins grinding its wheels -- mainly in the uninspired third act -- the energy levels of the two leads sputter as well. Further complicating matters is the film's PG-13 rating, which ostensibly caters to Hewitt's throngs of teenybopper followers. The choppy final cut of Heartbreakers seems to suggest a raunchier, bawdier R-rating, one which would have afforded its game cast the kinds of take-no-prisoners one-liners that material like this so desperately needs.
by Michael Hastings review