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