Heartbreakers follows mother/daughter con artists Max (Sigourney Weaver) and Page (Jennifer Love Hewitt) as they attempt to pull off one last score involving a wealthy tobacco magnate (Gene Hackman’s William B. Tensy), with complications ensuing as Page finds herself legitimately falling in love for the first time in her life (with Jason Lee’s Jack). There’s little doubt that Heartbreakers is at its best during its breezy and completely entertaining first half, as director David Mirkin does an effective job of instantly drawing the viewer into the familiar yet engaging narrative – with the movie’s appealing atmosphere certainly heightened and perpetuated by the stars’ winning, charismatic work. (In addition to Weaver and Love Hewitt’s affable efforts, the picture benefits from a solid cast that includes Ray Liotta, Anne Bancroft, and Nora Dunn – although Hackman’s incredibly entertaining turn remains a consistent highlight.) The various twists and turns within Robert Dunn, Paul Guay, and Stephen Mazur’s screenplay ensure that Heartbreakers both moves along at a brisk clip and contains plenty of forward momentum, and yet it’s equally apparent that the picture, saddled with a palpably bloated runtime of 123 minutes, suffers from a third act that drags to a decidedly distressing extent (ie this is hardly the sort of narrative that needs or benefits from a fake break-up). The degree to which Heartbreakers ultimately peters out is disappointing, to say the least, with the movie, in the end, standing as a decent comedy that could and should have been much better.

**1/2 out of ****

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