IMAGINE the deliciously mean-spirited humour of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels meets the feuding family friction of The Grifters. Now throw in a talented cast and a liberal dose of slap-stick and you have a thoroughly enjoyable crime caper.
Max (Weaver) and her daughter Paige (Love Hewitt) are con women par excellence. The particular con they specialise in is marriage to rich bachelors.
The beautiful and charming Max uses her feminine wiles to get their particular pigeon to the altar, then shortly after the wedding Paige uses her very obvious assets to tempt the unfortunate hubby into a compromising position which Max just happens to walk in on.
Cue histrionics, cue divorce, cue huge divorce settlement, cue next pigeon.
As the film starts Max is enjoying yet another wedding to slightly shady chop shop owner Dean Cumanno (Ray Liotta) who is soon fleeced for $300,000 plus a dubiously acquired Mercedes.
The devious duo have been working this lucrative con for years but Paige is eager to go it alone.
They decide to split their savings 50-50 and go their own separate ways, but it looks like the long arm of the law -or in this case the taxman- has finally caught up with them and their money.
So the sexy shysters decide to go for one last big pay-off to recoup their losses, they head off for millionaire row a.k.a. Palm Beach, Florida.
But things start to go awry.
Finding the richest pickings is no problem. The duo soon centre in on the foul William B. Tensy (a wonderfully disgusting Gene Hackman), a chain smoking tobacco billionaire who has one foot in the grave already.
But while Max is reeling Tensy in on a hook, Paige is doing a little homework on the side, and in the process meets and falls for the decent bartender/boy-next-door Jack (Jason Lee)
To top things off a past conquest, still lusting after Max has managed to track them down.
Although the film is a little overlong, director David Mirkin (Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion) manages draw wonderfully comic performances from all of his cast, especially Sigourney Weaver.
She gives a dynamite performance as the confident, seductive, manipulative Max.
So much so that the younger Love Hewitt who may be considered the more visually obvious sex symbol is often blown away.
Also Ray Liotta puts in a very funny energetic performance while managing to avoid the usual frothing at the mouth which has seemed to dog his career over the last few years.
The film asks a lot on faith and is more than a little unbelievable in places, for instance, concerning the relationship between Paige and Jack.
It is difficult to believe that such a nice guy would fall in love so quickly with a woman -who despite her obvious physical attributes- verbally and physically abuses him every time he meets her.
Yet on the whole, the leap of faith is well worth it. Although formulaic, Heartbreakers is a thoroughly enjoyable romp which really strikes gold in a superb cast who make a relatively uninspired script and a simple narrative sparkle.