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Heartbreakers (Blu-ray Review)

HeartbreakersIn the fine tradition of comedy caper films such as How To Steal A Million, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Gambit, comes Heartbreakers starring Sigourney Weaver (Alien) and Jennifer Love Hewitt (TV’s Party of Five) as a mother and daughter con team.  Heartbreakers, directed by David Mirkin (Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion) from a screenplay by Robert Dunn (Sweet Lies), Paul Guay (Liar Liar) and Stephen Mazur (Liar Liar) co-stars Gene Hackaman (The French Connection), Chasing Amy‘s Jason Lee, Ray Liotta (Goodfellas) and features some smaller but noticeable turns from Jeffrey Jones (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), Nora Dunn (Bruce Almighty), Sarah Silverman (School of Rock) and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover).  This release of the 2001 hit comedy film ports over its supplemental material from its original DVD release and makes its Blu-ray debut courtesy of the friendly people over at Olive Films.  

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Film 

Set in Palm Beach, Heartbreakers follows the escapades of Max and Page Connors, two con artists who use beauty and brains to bilk big bucks from their perspective suitors.  Page’s plan for a solo career is threatened when confronted by the IRS for back taxes. So, it’s time for one last job. And what a last job it’ll be. With their sites set on tobacco tycoon William B. Tensey it looks like their problems are solved.  Enter former con, Dean Cummano and potential con (and romantic interest), Jack Withrow and the stage is set for comic confusion of the highest order.

Yeah, I saw this movie when it came to theaters back in the day, and then I think I rented it once when it came out on DVD.  There was only one reason dragging me to something I wouldn’t have otherwise been interested in.  No, it was Sigourney Weaver, nor Gene Hackman.  A Kevin Smith fanatic I was, but Jason Lee didn’t get me to the box office.  It was one Miss Jennifer Love Hewitt, whom I had the most giant celebrity crush on through the 90s and a lot of the 2000s.  Ever since Sister Act 2.  That crush, coupled with being a slasher nut, had me seeing both I Know What You Did Last Summer films multiple times in theaters (Shut up).  That led me to a movie that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen.  And Heartbreakers was the one that was supposed to bridge her career up to more contemporary adult films.  Judging from the trailers…she’s looked reallllly good in it too.

This little romantic, long con comedy has some fun moments and bits, but really doesn’t hold together all to well, taking much too long to get through the film’s first act and then seems like it changes its mind on what it wants to do much too late in the game.  Its not a complete mess, but it does bloat the run time and the movie overwelcomes its stay crossing over the two hour mark.  And its not one that you don’t notice the time flying by.  You’re not sitting and staring at your watch through the film, but it does start to wear on you a bit.

Performance-wise, everyone here is quite good.  Jennifer Love Hewitt probably gives on of her personal best performances.  Sigourney Weaver just commands the screen with every frame.  This movie sells her on a lot of sex appeal, but for some reason, aside from Ghostbusters, she’s always seemed an asexual type of performer to me.  Gene Hackman is hilarious, in one of the five films he starred in that year.  Hackman literally hacks his way through in a funny but disgusting role.  Ray Liotta is pretty funny here, and this may be one of the first times I’d seen him lighten up like this.  In early, thankless roles are Zack Galifianakis and Sarah Silverman.  There’s not much to say about them as their dialogue is limited to pretty stupid exposition lines.

This movie is a decent enough watch.  Its one of those that just really screams rental.  No, the film isn’t awful, I just don’t think it merits much in terms of revisiting quality.  It boasts a fun and game cast, but ultimately has a bit of a sloppy, hole-driven structure and stays over way too long.  Fourteen years ago, my young self was probably just happy enough because Jennifer Love Hewitt was pretty hot in this movie.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail:  This is a pretty nice and (for the most part) clean transfer.  With a tropical setting and Jennifer Love Hewitt in the cast, its easy for something to look really pretty, but this looks like some good work here.  There does seem to be some smoothness to it, but I’m not sure many would notice.  Details and textures look nice in this transfer.

Depth:  Movements onscreen are cinematic and smooth.  Background imagery is a clear and clean as the focus allows.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and only a light amount of detail is hidden.  Night scenes look pretty good and have some decent shadow work.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are nice and bold.  A tropical setting for much of the movie with great light helps to boast a vivid appearance.  Outfits with stronger colors come across nicely.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout.  Facial detail is pretty impressive, but some moments look a little smooth.

Noise/Artifacts:  There is some film dirt and light print damage (Most of this early on, but one instance happens during hour two).

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  Really kind of surprised there wasn’t a 5.1 mix laying around for this one.  Not that this film demands it or anything, but I figured any wide release coming out around the time of this one’s debut would’ve had it regardless.  Nevertheless this one sounds very well, with a nice balance of vocals, music and sound effects.  Effects get to have some fun in the forefront with some good comedic thuds and male statue extremities being knocked off. 

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are loud, clear and crisp.  The film is built mostly on its conversation and everyone’s voice is clean and discernible.

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Extras 

Trailer (HD, 2:19)

Laffs & Gaffes (HD, 11:45) – With the Making Of documentary being included, this is a little redundant, but its a more brief behind-the-scenes look.

Making Of Heartbreakers Documentary (HD, 22:12) – A vintage piece with interviews done during the film’s production, covering all aspects of the film from script to cast to shooting.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 22:44)

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Summary 

Heartbreakers is a bit disjointed in its narrative and bloated in the runtime, but its still a decent movie.  It has a cast that does good work and seems to be having a good time doing so.  Olive Films release of the film comes with a good transfer to back all that up.  It also features extras from the DVD release of the film that have been ported over, which is something notable for Olive Films.  If you’re a fan, at the right price this is a good release, but for most others, a rental should suffice.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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