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Overall Rating

Awesome: 30.67%
Worth A Look40%
Just Average: 17.33%
Pretty Crappy: 10.67%
Sucks: 1.33%

4 reviews, 51 user ratings

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Matchstick Men
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by Brian McKay

"The 'long' con falls short"
3 stars

If you were one of those people who saw MATCHSTICK MEN, and who didn't see the ending coming a mile away, then I'd like you to send me your bank account number and access codes so that I can deposit a special prize into your account. Maybe I'm just a jaded film critic, but this is nothing more than Mamet's HOUSE OF GAMES - LITE with a warm and fuzzy daughter-daddy relationship and some OCD tossed in - right down to the totally predictable "shoulda known better" ending (and hopefully, most of you did).

If anything saves Matchstick Men from it's own predictability, it's a competent cast. Cage, while giving us nothing new here as Roy, the obsessive-compulsive con artist, is still entertaining. Sam Rockwell (Galaxy Quest) is appropriately sleazy as the greedy sidekick Frank, who keeps trying to talk Roy into doing a "long" con (in other words, one with a big, elaborate, and time-consuming setup, but which yields a big reward). Roy agrees to do it only as his "last job". Now that his long-lost 14 year old daughter (Allison Lohman) has been introduced back into his life, he wants to get out of the game. However, once she finds out what daddy does for a living, she talks him into letting her take part in the scam. Roy quickly learns that she has the same talent for deception and misdirection as her old man.

The movie itself, however, is a failed long con. Its success depends on you not seeing the twists and turns coming, until it finally decides to reveal to you that you've been suckered. The only problem is, if you're already well familiarized with the standard con-man movie template, you'll see what's coming and won't care too much about the outcome - as was the case with the recent thriller Identity, which started out so well before giving away too much too soon with too little effect.

If anything saves MATCHSTICK MEN from pure tedium, it's the cast. Rockwell and Lohmann are particularly good, and everyone else is adept and convincing in their roles. If only the script had been half as adept and convincing, this review wouldn't be short a star or two. Even Ridley Scott's directing isn't a major contributing factor here - In fact, I wasn't even aware that he'd directed it until I saw his name come up in the closing credits (having shown up late and missed the opening ones). And while his work is competent as usual here, it's certainly nothing more than resume' padding to be listed under other (more minor) accomplishments.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8130&reviewer=258
originally posted: 09/20/03 14:15:57
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User Comments

8/29/08 Shaun Wallner Nicholas Cage is great in all his films. 5 stars
5/17/07 ES yeah, predictable but enjoyable none the less 4 stars
6/24/06 MP Bartley Too contrived by half. Utterly predictable. 2 stars
4/29/06 Agent Sands Very comfortably atmospheric con flick with a brilliant cast and production values. 5 stars
2/22/06 Frank Rountree Cage was great! good movie 4 stars
10/25/05 roy holt Rockwell is outstanding 5 stars
10/23/05 Indrid Cold Extremely well done, but mega twist endings are getting tiresome. 5 stars
7/07/05 ALDO enjoyable movie...well worth a look 4 stars
7/06/05 Steve Newman Guessed the end with 20 mins to go - what a great film though - go see!!! 5 stars
1/27/05 Charlie Nic provides another amazing performance. Hilarious, with the OCD and all. 5 stars
12/29/04 R.W. Welch Too contrived for its own good, but manages to be entertaining enough. 3 stars
11/27/04 Monday Morning Stylish & well done but why did Nic choose that particular psychiatrist? A real stretch. 4 stars
11/11/04 Phil M. Aficionado Loses one star for some "stretches", but very entertaining and well done by cast. 4 stars
11/01/04 Marc Tebo Great movie all around...How did Cage & Lohman not get nominated?? Wonderfully acted!! 5 stars
10/23/04 ODH Its OK, but the ending while good does leave some loose ends 3 stars
9/25/04 VIctor Cage needs career counseling; his everyman stunts are getting tiresome like all his movies 1 stars
9/23/04 Agent Sands One of the greatest con movies ever made. Either flawless or nearly so. Never gets old. 5 stars
9/13/04 Shams Huque Damn good! Cage is great as always. 5 stars
9/05/04 jmsynth Whether you love or hate the ending, this is something of a must-see 4 stars
7/24/04 chandrasekar cage rocks with his performance 4 stars
6/06/04 Ry Good Movie, nice ending. 4 stars
6/02/04 Agent Sands Thumbs way up!!! Nic Cage seems to really like these neurotic types, & Ridley diversifies. 5 stars
5/03/04 Paul This is an interesting twist on a con movie 5 stars
4/10/04 alan this was supposed to be a comedy, right? 3 stars
4/09/04 teresa brown i loved it 5 stars
3/12/04 Rebecca I must have missed something here 3 stars
3/11/04 jimmy two times great littlle big film. very touching. surprised me in how good it was. 5 stars
3/08/04 ownerofdajoint what a great flick!! 5 stars
3/06/04 Jaco Visser A really intelligent and "something-between-the-ears" film! Congrats! 5 stars
3/06/04 Helen Bradley Cage is great excellent film script acting 5 stars
3/03/04 Star-Crosser Resfreshing and character-driven. Ranks among Scott's best. 5 stars
2/26/04 Ben Ziegler Cage is superb, Rockwell is Rockwell and Lohman is frickin adorable. Clever and cool. 4 stars
12/01/03 Brianna omg! it was so good, 5 stars
10/29/03 zeb woodhatch a twist to knoch your socks off 4 stars
10/18/03 greg Bad con film, Great character study! 3 stars
10/12/03 John Bale Twitchy Cage & quirky Lohman excell in this compassionate story with a sting in the tail. 5 stars
10/05/03 Doc Hollywood I agree Allison Lohman acted Nick Cage off the stage. Slow start but enjoyable. 4 stars
10/01/03 Bill Cumberson Allison Lohman steals the show 4 stars
9/26/03 Quizical A very good movie until the last 10 minutes when everything turns very lame. 3 stars
9/26/03 Mr. Hat An absolute hands-down major fucking masterpiece up until the last 10 minutes. 4 stars
9/24/03 jawsboy24 Not bad. Cage does a great job! Lohman is also great! Rockwell rocks!! Not bad. Good acting 4 stars
9/22/03 Titus Fun movie, nice to see Cage doing some acting. 4 stars
9/21/03 Josh Fun and engaging; Cage is fantastic. 4 stars
9/18/03 Tom good acting; plenty of twists 4 stars
9/17/03 Superdave i loved this movie, fuckin outstanding 5 stars
9/15/03 david i liked it 4 stars
9/14/03 Benjamin Leatherman First two-thirds are good, then it descends into maudlin and tedium 3 stars
9/05/03 Hart so clever and funny, As Good As It Gets meets Ocean 11 5 stars
9/05/03 Michelle stylish, quirky, and fun. the acting is awesome. 5 stars
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  12-Sep-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-Feb-2004



Directed by
  Ridley Scott

Written by
  Ted Griffin
  Nick Griffin

  Nicolas Cage
  Sam Rockwell
  Alison Lohman
  Bruce Altman
  Bruce McGill
  Fran Kranz

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