I most often associate Sigourney Weaver with roles where her femininity is, if not precisely suppressed, is not exactly emphasized. Her famous Alien action-adventures, of course, but also more thoughtful parts like in The Guys, The Ice Storm, The Year of Living Dangerously (at the premiere on the MGM lot, I got to meet her, briefly), and Gorillas in the Mist. I tend to forget that she’s great at light comedy as well, and that when you put her in a designer dress (all 5’ 11” of her), made up to the nines, heads will turn sharply enough to produce whiplash. This is one of those. She and Jennifer Love Hewitt are a mother-daughter con woman team who have long been working a variation on the badger game, where she marries some poor schmuck (Ray Liotta) and then Jennifer seduces him more or less on the wedding night, only to have Sigourney “accidentally” walk in on them. Divorce, and a big settlement. But things are going wrong. An IRS agent (Anne Bancroft in one of her last roles, lovely as ever) is after them for a huge back tax bill, or they will go to jail. They decide to go for one more monster score, off a Palm Beach tobacco billionaire (Gene Hackman, and his name as never been so apt, as he spends most of the movie coughing his lungs out). Naturally, things are complicated when the daughter falls in love, and we have to sort out mother-daughter dominance issues. I’ve always loved movies about con games. This is a minor one, and some of the short cons are so old I can’t believe a good restaurant or hotel would fall for them. Sprinkling broken glass over your food after you’ve eaten, for instance, is dumb, especially if you’ve got the broken ashtray under your high heel. Why didn’t you see the obvious glass shards before you started? But aside from that, it’s a lot of fun, and both women are very pleasant to look at. Have to say, though, that Sigourney at age 54 just plain blows the 22-year-old Hewitt right off the beauty pageant runway.
(BTW: These days you can usually date an NYC movie pre-9/11 or post-9/11 by whether you can see the Twin Towers or not. From 1973 to 2001, I doubt if any establishing shot of NYC failed to include them. They are seen here, and as always, choked me up.)