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MATCHSTICK MEN

 
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At Theaters: 9/12/2003 On Video: 2/24/2004
Rated: PG-13 Length: 2 hr. 0 min.
Internet: Web Site Movie ID: 419945
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
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Storyline Heading
A small-time con finds that he has a daughter who wants to meet the father she never knew. Finally, at her insistence and against his better judgment, the overprotective con artist begins teaching her some tricks of the trade and, much to his ambivalent mix of surprise, pride and dismay, she displays a remarkable gift for the grift.

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DETAILED STORYLINE
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Movie Type (Genre) Heading
Drama - This is a quirky and unusual film that doesn't easily fall under normal genre terms. It has elements of a light caper, but it also has some family drama and thriller elements and walks a balance between serious and comedic the whole way through.

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Cast and Crew Heading
Nicolas Cage WINDTALKERS, FAMILY MAN
Alison Lohman WHITE OLEANDER
Sam Rockwell CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND
Bruce Altman THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION
Bruce McGill THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE
Director: Ridley Scott BLACK HAWK DOWN, HANNIBAL, GLADIATOR
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Production Notes Heading
Production Information
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Content Heading
PROFANITY: 1 F-word, 12 S-words, 3 GD's, a few others.
SEX/NUDITY: Brief non-sexual nudity; sexy dancing.
VIOLENCE: A shooting and some incidental violence.
DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Frequent alcohol, tobacco, and pill use.
ACTION: A car/foot chase.
COMEDY: Dark, dry situational humor.
DETAILED CONTENT
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Critic's Review Heading
Excellent

The above rating is an average of the critic reviews below.

(Close new window when finished with Full Reviews)

Roger Ebert  Full Review
Excellent "The screenplay for Matchstick Men is an achievement of Oscar calibre -- so absorbing that whenever it cuts away from 'the plot,' there is another, better plot to cut to.''

USA TODAY  Full Review
Good "Matchstick Men is a well-acted and intriguing exploration of dishonesty in its varied forms, leavened with a dry comic touch.''

TV Guide Online  Full Review
Average "Cage's mannerisms are tailor-made for the role of Roy and Rockwell slimes easily through Frank's heartless intrigues; the surprise is relative newcomer Lohman, who effortlessly holds her own against seasoned attention-grabbers.''

Newsday  Full Review
Good "There probably isn't a leading man anywhere right now besides Cage whom studios would entrust with a character like Roy. By now, his goony- bird riffs have become all but patented, and there are times when you fear he'll take one of his infrequent glide paths over the top. But he keeps things in control. Lohman, meanwhile, is as much of a wonder to watch here as she was in last year's White Oleander,..."

Note: The rating above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on their review. We are not affiliated with these critic's in any way.


DETAILED CRITIC'S REVIEW
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Opinion Heading

Based on an Exit Polling of 193 Moviegoers

Ages Age Group
How
Many
Your Probability of
Enjoying This Movie
*
Would
Recommend
Movie To Friends
13-19Teens (M)
12
High
83%
13-19Teens (F)
15
High
87%
20-29Yg Adults (M)
30
High
97%
20-29Yg Adults (F)
31
High
97%
30+Adults (M)
49
High
90%
30+Adults (F)
56
Fairly High
88%
*Possible Ratings: Very High, High, Fairly High, About 50/50, Fairly Low, Low, Very Low.

About Our Opinions

Be sure to read the DETAILED OPINIONS
The positive and negative comments made by moviegoers are very
helpful when selecting a movie that's appropriate for you and your family.

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OPINION GRAPH

OPINION OVERVIEW
The following is the original "What's Worth Watching" write-up for this movie.

Moviegoer Opinions:

These opinions are a perfect example of a very good, but unfortunately not a great movie. The relatively few "Fantastic" opinions and the somewhat high number of very low opinions keep this from being a great movie. However, since the "Excellent" and "Very Good" opinions make up a significant portion of the total opinions, it's obviously a movie many enjoyed very much. There are also quite a few opinions of "Good," which indicates a somewhat enjoyable "average" movie. All this tells me that most of you will enjoy Matchstick Men, at least to some degree.

Cinema Review Prediction: (before moviegoer opinions are collected)
Moviegoers expecting a more action-packed effort from star Nicolas Cage will be surprised by this fairly small and intimate character-driven film. A mix of dark comedy, family drama, and con caper, the film's plot twists, interesting characters and performances should win favor among adult audiences despite its unusual mixture of tones.

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D ETAILED S TORYLINE
Meet Roy (NICOLAS CAGE) and Frank (SAM ROCKWELL), a couple of pros at the small-time con. As in con artists. Grifters. Matchstick Men. Take your pick.

What Roy, a veteran of the grift, and Frank, his ambitious protégé, are swindling – er, make that selling – these days are "water filtration systems,” bargain-basement water filters bought by unsuspecting people who pay ten times their value in order to win bogus prizes like cars, jewelry and overseas vacations…which they never collect. These scams net the flim-flam men a few hundred here, another thousand there, which eventually adds up to a lucrative partnership.

Roy's private life, however, is not so successful. An obsessive-compulsive agoraphobe (and chain-smoker) with no personal relationships to call his own, Roy is barely hanging on to his wits, and when his idiosyncrasies begin to threaten his criminal productivity he's forced to seek the help of a psychoanalyst (BRUCE ALTMAN) just to keep him in working order.

While Roy is looking for a quick fix (i.e. pills), his therapy begets more than he bargained for: the revelation that he has a teenage daughter – a child whose existence he suspected but never dared confirm. What's more troubling, 14-year-old Angela (ALISON LOHMAN) wants to meet the father she never knew.

At first, Angela's appearance disrupts her neurotic father's carefully ordered routine. Soon, however, with his own unique spin on parenthood, Roy begins to enjoy a relationship he never dreamed of having with his daughter. But while he develops paternal feelings for the 14-year-old, she's developing a fascination with Daddy's questionable career.

Finally, at Angela's insistence and against his better judgment, the overprotective con artist begins teaching her some tricks of the trade and, much to his ambivalent mix of surprise, pride and dismay, she displays a remarkable gift for the grift.

Now, like a kid with a new toy, Angela wants in on the partnership. But that could seriously jeopardize Roy's peace of mind – not to mention his whole way of life.

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