MATCHSTICK MEN

Content -2
Quality
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Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: September 12, 2003

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell,
Alison Lohman, and Bruce
McGill

Genre: Dramatic Comedy/Crime Story

Audience: Teenagers and adults REVIEWER:
Don Patton with Lisa A.
Rice Adapted from a 2002 novel
by Eric Garcia, the title,
MATCHSTICK MEN, means scam
artists, con men, flimflam
operators, and the like.
Nicholas Cage plays Roy, one
of these con men that, with
his partner, Mercer, played by
Sam Rockwell, attempt to pull
off their biggest sting ever.
All seems well and good until
various family-related
complications occur - like the
sudden appearance of Roy's
daughter, and all the problems
that accompany such a meeting.
Roy is an obsessive
compulsive neat freak who,
when not taking his
medication, finds himself
scrubbing his house with
disinfectants and vacuuming
under his bed, repeating this
madness for days on end. His
debilitating problems prevent
him from even leaving the
house, as he fears open
spaces. Cage's character adds
to the neurosis several
nervous ticks that make him
uncomfortably realistic. Roy
has accumulated wealth through
years of cheating people out
of their money. However, his
life is empty because he's had
no one to share his life and
fortune with... until
now? MATCHSTICK MEN attempts
to shed light on the lives of
con men, those living just
under the veneer of society.
People with no social security
numbers or medical insurance.
Nasty people who call
unsuspecting elderly or
shut-ins and scam them with
expensive promises and
confidence tricks. Audiences
will hate watching the scams
and seeing retirees taken for
a ride, but, as the story
progresses, Cage charms the
audience with his desire to
redeem himself with remorse
over his sins, and genuine
concern for his newly found
daughter. Directed by Ridley
Scott, best known for ALIEN,
BLADERUNNER, THELMA AND
LOUISE, and GLADIATOR, Scott's
movies are typically big hits.
His films are paintings, and
this one is no exception. Shot
with a retro look, it is
"1950s meets the 21st
Century." The Rat Pack sound
track is a brilliant touch as
well. MATCHSTICK MEN promises
to be the 21st Century's
STING. If this promise doesn't
deliver in time, audiences
must have been sleeping. Well
written and brilliantly acted,
the chemistry between Cage and
Rockwell is a stroke of
casting brilliance. Hollywood
newcomer Alison Lohman is
painfully believable as a
hyperactive rebellious
14-year-old with a lust for
scams. One moment she's
absolutely adorable. The
audience will almost hope that
their sons will end up
marrying her. The next moment,
the audience will pray their
daughters never turn out to be
like her. Despite the
brilliant writing, acting, and
directing, however, MATCHSTICK
MEN has its issues for moral
audiences. A major obstacle
for discerning parents is the
movie's portrayal of teenage
drinking. In one scene,
Nicholas Cage allows his
daughter to drink beer and
smoke in his house. Thus,
there's not much experienced
parenting coming from his
character. He teaches her how
to scam but redeems it by
making her return the money
she took. Additionally, some
scenes were shot in a stripper
bar with girls dancing at
poles. The movie has an
irritating 33 obscenities, as
well as guns, violence, and
attempted murder. MATCHSTICK
MEN still has that cold,
selfish Hollywood feel to it
that says go ahead, do it;
you'll surely get away with
it. On the bright side, it is
a great story of redemption
without having to be caught in
the act in order to find true
repentance. The very last
scene is a tearjerker,
love-of-family moment, which
is surprising in the wake of
many of today's movies.
Audiences watch a man go
through a lot (granted he put
himself there), but he fights
frantically to right his
wrongs. Audiences get a sense
from Cage's character that
he's really ready to turn his
life around. There is true
transformation, which is
satisfying. Please address
your comments to: Barry M.
Meyer, Chairman/CEO Warner
Bros., Inc. 4000 Warner
Blvd. Burbank, CA
91522-0001 Phone: (818)
954-6000 Website:
www.movies.warnerbros.com

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 117 minutes

Distributor: Warner Bros.

Director: Ridley Scott

Executive Producer: Robert Zemeckis

Producer: Ridley Scott, Jack Rapke, Sean
Bailey, Steve Starkey, and Ted
Griffin

Writer: Nicholas Griffin and Ted
Griffin BASED ON THE NOVEL BY:
Eric Garcia

Address Comments To:

Content:

(CC, BB, Pa, LL, VV, S, N, AA, D, MM) Redemptive, moral worldview showing the hopelessness and lack of fulfillment resulting from a sinful lifestyle, and secondary pagan worldview glorifying drinking, dancing, stealing, etc.; strong language with at least 33 obscenities; moderate action violence; some sexual depictions of ladies dancing around poles at bar; nudity includes scantily-clad women dancing; portrayals of teenage and adult drinking; smoking; and, lying, stealing, cheating, teenage disrespectfulness, dishonesty, etc.

GENRE: Dramatic Comedy/Crime Story

CC

BB

Pa

LL

VV

S

AA

CoCoCo

MM

Summary:

In MATCHSTICK MEN, a phobic con artist and his protégé are on the verge of pulling off a lucrative swindle when the con artist's teenage daughter arrives unexpectedly. With incredible writing, directing, and acting, as well as a redemptive outcome, MATCHSTICK MEN is nonetheless spoiled by foul language, sexual content, and a portrayal of teenage drinking and smoking.

Review:

Adapted from a 2002 novel by Eric Garcia, the title, MATCHSTICK MEN, means scam artists, con men, flimflam operators, and the like. Nicholas Cage plays Roy, one of these con men that, with his partner, Mercer, played by Sam Rockwell, attempt to pull off their biggest sting ever. All seems well and good until various family-related complications occur - like the sudden appearance of Roy's daughter, and all the problems that accompany such a meeting.

Roy is an obsessive compulsive neat freak who, when not taking his medication, finds himself scrubbing his house with disinfectants and vacuuming under his bed, repeating this madness for days on end. His debilitating problems prevent him from even leaving the house, as he fears open spaces. Cage's character adds to the neurosis several nervous ticks that make him uncomfortably realistic. Roy has accumulated wealth through years of cheating people out of their money. However, his life is empty because he's had no one to share his life and fortune with... until now?

MATCHSTICK MEN attempts to shed light on the lives of con men, those living just under the veneer of society. People with no social security numbers or medical insurance. Nasty people who call unsuspecting elderly or shut-ins and scam them with expensive promises and confidence tricks. Audiences will hate watching the scams and seeing retirees taken for a ride, but, as the story progresses, Cage charms the audience with his desire to redeem himself with remorse over his sins, and genuine concern for his newly found daughter.

Directed by Ridley Scott, best known for ALIEN, BLADERUNNER, THELMA AND LOUISE, and GLADIATOR, Scott's movies are typically big hits. His films are paintings, and this one is no exception. Shot with a retro look, it is "1950s meets the 21st Century." The Rat Pack sound track is a brilliant touch as well.

MATCHSTICK MEN promises to be the 21st Century's STING. If this promise doesn't deliver in time, audiences must have been sleeping. Well written and brilliantly acted, the chemistry between Cage and Rockwell is a stroke of casting brilliance. Hollywood newcomer Alison Lohman is painfully believable as a hyperactive rebellious 14-year-old with a lust for scams. One moment she's absolutely adorable. The audience will almost hope that their sons will end up marrying her. The next moment, the audience will pray their daughters never turn out to be like her.

Despite the brilliant writing, acting, and directing, however, MATCHSTICK MEN has its issues for moral audiences. A major obstacle for discerning parents is the movie's portrayal of teenage drinking. In one scene, Nicholas Cage allows his daughter to drink beer and smoke in his house. Thus, there's not much experienced parenting coming from his character. He teaches her how to scam but redeems it by making her return the money she took.

Additionally, some scenes were shot in a stripper bar with girls dancing at poles. The movie has an irritating 33 obscenities, as well as guns, violence, and attempted murder. MATCHSTICK MEN still has that cold, selfish Hollywood feel to it that says go ahead, do it; you'll surely get away with it.

On the bright side, it is a great story of redemption without having to be caught in the act in order to find true repentance. The very last scene is a tearjerker, love-of-family moment, which is surprising in the wake of many of today's movies. Audiences watch a man go through a lot (granted he put himself there), but he fights frantically to right his wrongs. Audiences get a sense from Cage's character that he's really ready to turn his life around. There is true transformation, which is satisfying.

Please address your comments to:

Barry M. Meyer, Chairman/CEO

Warner Bros., Inc.

4000 Warner Blvd.

Burbank, CA 91522-0001

Phone: (818) 954-6000

Website: www.movies.warnerbros.com

SUMMARY: In MATCHSTICK MEN, a phobic con artist and his protégé are on the verge of pulling off a lucrative swindle when the con artist's teenage daughter arrives unexpectedly. With incredible writing, directing, and acting, as well as a redemptive outcome, MATCHSTICK MEN is nonetheless spoiled by foul language, sexual content, and a portrayal of teenage drinking and smoking.

In Brief: