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Matchstick Men (2003)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 12 September 2003 (USA)
0:30 | Trailer

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A phobic con artist and his protégé are on the verge of pulling off a lucrative swindle when the former's teenage daughter arrives unexpectedly.



(book), (screenplay) (as Nick Griffin) | 1 more credit »
5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chuck Frechette
Mrs. Schaffer
Mr. Schaffer
Laundry Lady
Slacker Boyfriend
Bill Saito ...


Meet Roy and Frank, a couple of professional small-time con artists. What Roy, a veteran of the grift, and Frank, his ambitious protégé, are swindling 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 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 just to keep him in working order. While Roy is looking for a quick fix, his therapy begets more than he bargained for: the revelation that he has a teenage daughter--a child whose existence he... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


lie cheat steal rinse repeat

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, violence, some sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

12 September 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los tramposos  »


Box Office


$62,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,087,307, 14 September 2003, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Roy's pills are actually Benadryl, a popular over-the-counter allergy medicine. See more »


Roy always opens and closes the door 3 times before finally opening it (making it 4 times) to the person waiting, however when the pizza delivery guy is at the door he only opens it once. See more »


[first lines]
Roy: Uno, due, tre.
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Crazy Credits

In the closing credits, letters such as "M" and "W" are separated lines (presumably matchsticks), much like the type in the main title. See more »


Referenced in Community: Grifting 101 (2015) See more »


L'Amore in Citta
(Episode "Agenzia Matrimoniale")
Composed by Mario Nascimbene
Performed by orchestra conducted by Mario Nascimbene
Courtesy of C.A.M. S.r.l.
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User Reviews

Nice change of pace for Ridley!

The latest effort from Ridley Scott equates to Spielberg's latest, Catch Me If You Can. It is a nice, technically simple film that follows their more epic, effects, and set piece driven movies preceding them. Spielberg followed Minority Report and AI, whereas Scott is following Gladiator, Hannibal and Black Hawk Down. It is a nice and welcome change of pace for a master director, as CMIYC was to Spielberg.

The film stars Nicholas Cage, who is making up for some lost years thanks to his role here and of course in Adaptation. Cage plays an obsessive compulsive con man who has an obsession of cleanliness and a fear germs and wide open spaces, and is hyped up on prescription drugs. Cage is superb here, it is a great performance, amusing and likeable. This is the sort of quirky character that brings the best out of Nic Cage. Co-starring as Cages partner in crime is the up and coming Sam Rockwell. I have been a fan of his since I first saw him in Charlie's Angels and then in his best role thus far in Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind. He was superb in Confessions and looks like he could be a top new star. Rockwell plays his character here with panache. Also starring as Cages daughter who turns up out the blue is Alison Lohman. Lohman is playing a 14 year old, who Cage has never seen and didn't know of at the start of the film. Lohman is much older in real life and so playing a 14 year is something she can do well but with the maturity and actress of that actual age may not have. Lohman is a lovely presence, she is charming and sweet and endearing to the audience, she is also a good young actress.

The film is funny, charming and simplistic. It doesn't tax too much and is a quick and pleasant, much like junk food, only more good for you. I love it when Scott does his big epic and more elaborate films but this is a good change of pace, that Scott must have really enjoyed. It is something he could do with his eyes closed compared to say Gladiator.

The film is well paced and there is a great twist that lets the film end on a real high. This is a good use of a great cast, and imaginatively edited. Overall a pleasing viewing. ****

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