Making the Grades
The con is on in Heartbreakers, a comedy involving a mother and daughter team who marry for money... over and over.
Working through a series of men, Max (Sigourney Weaver) and her daughter Page (Jennifer Love Hewitt) have their roles down pat. Max brings the gullible groom to the altar, but stops just short of consummating the marriage--leaving her man desperate and rejected. The next day, the lusty Page moves in on the unsuspecting heartbroken prey. Knowing the precise moment to discover her new husband in a compromising position with "another" woman, Max walks in and claims her alimony.
However, Page is tiring of working nickel and dime victims like their latest conquest Dean Cumanno (Ray Liotta), the manager of an automobile "chop shop." To move up in the world, the women head to the ritzy Florida Palm Beach area, where Max chooses the wealthy but elderly William Tensy (Gene Hackman). Page reluctantly agrees but secretly yearns to lead her own scam. When she meets Jack (Jason Lee), and accidentally discovers the young and attractive man owns a small bar on a piece of valuable oceanfront property, Page decides to moonlight--without Mom. Instead, her emotions get in the way, leading to a confusing situation that only worsens when Dean shows up on the scene.
Any mothers thinking this might be a perfect daughter-date movie should understand that Heartbreakers is full of lessons on dishonesty (exploring various ways to steal everything from a quick meal to a family fortune) and using sex for gain. While it can be argued that within the film nobody ever has sex, certainly the script has every character talking about it, and often with crude and descriptive terms. Usually dressed to kill, both mother and daughter provide many moments of skin exposure, while a sexually suggestive male statue is yet another creative way of squeezing more content into a PG-13 rating.
Making a mockery of marriage, Heartbreakers' "no consequences" conclusion may leave young audiences with some conning ideas sure to cause heartbreak of a different nature.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Heartbreakers.
Some scenes in Heartbreakers provide creative ideas for stealing items, such as meals in restaurants. Do you think people will be tempted to try these ideas in reality after seeing them in a movie?
What consequences are removed from this movie? Why do you think the screenwriter chose to not include consequences for characters’ actions?