Mother-and-daughter con artists, Maxine and Page Conners, head to Miami Beach to pull off one last job, initially targeting irascible billionaire, William B. Tensy. Complications arise when Page falls in love, and their last stooge, Dean, seeks revenge.
Okay, first things first. There are a lot of good points in David Mirkin's Heartbreakers - or, Flirty Rotten Scoundrels - and two of them belong to Jennifer Love Hewitt. For ignoring Hewitt's physical contributions to this winning concoction is ultimately as fruitless as Basil Fawlty's attempts not to mention the war.
Heartbreakers hinges on convincing us that quite rational men would do anything to have their end away with Hewitt, and it succeeds comfortably.
First seen with her head stuck to Ray Liotta's zipper, while wearing an outfit so tight it's practically performing the Heimlich Manoeuvre, Hewitt parades throughout in a variety of stunning costumes, though cleverly never fully disrobing. Yet, she also shows a talent for verbal and physical comedy, is constantly prepared to be the butt of the joke, and bonds brilliantly with Sigourney Weaver.
As the older half of Mirkin's second sisters-doin'-it-for-themselves double act (he directed Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion), Weaver shatters the myth that actresses' lives end at 50, shining in a role that showcases her comic sensibilities - including a cod-Russian rendition of Back in The USSR - while still allowing her to be sexy.
Yet, it's Hackman - channelling the ghosts of W.C. Fields and Sid James - and Liotta who give Heartbreakers that extra comic frisson. Indeed, Liotta is by some distance the best thing in the film. Riffing on his oily psycho persona, he generates real chemistry with Weaver, and his prickly nervousness is laugh-out-loud funny.
Mirkin's direction is a little flat, but he's clearly having tremendous fun, showing none of the hard-edged streak one would expect of a former Larry Sanders Show director. But then, darkness doesn't really belong here - even potentially blackly comic sequences are played for broad laughs. It outstays its welcome by about 20 minutes, but there are more than enough sharp one-liners and inventive cons to keep you chuckling.
Boasting strong comic performances, Heartbreakers is a frothy delight. Loaded with innuendo, this manages to remain sweet-hearted and sexy, a welcome revelation in this age of gross-out comedies.