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Heartbreakers: Special Edition

If you like Jennifer Love Hewitt, you'll probably love Heartbreakers. If you're not a fan of the "Party of Five" alum, you'll still like this Dirty Rotten Scoundrels-esque caper comedy well enough — but you'll have to tolerate Hewitt's (many) scenes to get to the ones with Sigourney Weaver, Gene Hackman, and Ray Liotta. It's not that she's bad as Page Conners — who, along with mom Max (Weaver), earns her bread and butter by seducing and scamming a string of unsuspecting men — it's just that she's so determined to banish her perky girl-next-door image that she turns Page into a mercurial, sharp-tongued vixen who blows hot and cold so unpredictably that even a meteorologist wouldn't have a clue what to do with her. (Plus, there's the disconcerting fact that she looks like she's literally made out of plastic.) It's hard to understand why nice-guy bar owner Jack (Jason Lee, doing his usual sarcastic shtick, but with a sweet undercurrent) would fall for her, but fall he does — and she does, too, complicating Max's plans to make one last big score by seducing geriatric tobacco tycoon William Tensy (Hackman), a nasty chimney of a man whom Max woos as Russian temptress Olga. Throwing another wrench into the ladies' Palm Beach shenanigans is the unexpected reappearance of lovelorn tough guy Dean (Liotta), one of Max's most recent victims. Liotta gives one of the strongest performances in the movie, providing most of the laughs in the film's third act. Indeed, he and the rest of the cast seem game to try anything for a giggle. Pratfalls and other physical comedy abound throughout Heartbreakers — Weaver (who lately has been proving as good at humor as she as at kicking alien butt) even gets a cheesy musical number — and it's to director David Mirkin's credit that he persuaded the cast to take so many dives in the name of comedy. So, yes, even though some of them are predictable, Heartbreakers has plenty of laughs, but in the end it's the Hewitt factor that will make or break it for you. Unlike the thrice-named ingénue, however, MGM's special edition DVD doesn't disappoint. In addition to a strong, clear anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) and nice Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (in English, Spanish, and French, with subtitles for all three languages), the disc offers two featurettes, two full-length commentaries (the first is Mirkin on his own, the second is Mirkin, Hewitt, and Weaver), the trailer, and — contrary to the 22 the packaging promises — a set of 19 brief deleted scenes with optional commentary from Mirkin. Mirkin is informative and dryly funny during his solo commentary; the one he shares with the two actresses is a little gigglier and has longer periods of silence. If you're running short on time, the 22-minute "making-of" featurette is a nice alternative to the commentary tracks, and the 11-minute "Laffs and Gaffes" highlights some of the physical comedy and offers a few outtakes. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech

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