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Matchstick Men (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  12 September 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 102,073 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 332 user | 170 critic | 38 from Metacritic.com

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 »
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2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Schaffer
Mr. Schaffer
Laundry Lady
Slacker Boyfriend
Tim Kelleher ...
Pharmacist #1
Pharmacist #2
Stoney Westmoreland ...
Man in Line


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:

Tricks  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$13,087,307 (USA) (12 September 2003)


$54,290 (Hong Kong) (2 January 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The airport scenes, set at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), were actually filmed in the main entrance of the Anaheim Convention Center, a mile south of Disneyland. Due to recent security measures in the nation's airports, filming rights have been severely restricted on airport property. See more »


When Roy and Angela are riding in the car towards Angela's home, the car is moving and you can see motion in the drivers side mirror but the trees in the passengers side mirror are motionless. See more »


[first lines]
Roy: Uno, due, tre.
See more »

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 »


Featured in Conan: Dial T for Misdialed Murder (2011) See more »


Beyond the Sea
Written by Albert Lasry, Jack Lawrence and Charles Trenet
Performed by Bobby Darin
Courtesy of Atco Records / Elektra Entertainment Group
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing
See more »

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User Reviews

Nick Cage is awsome!
20 September 2003 | by (Philadelphia) – See all my reviews

Reviewing a movie like Matchstick Men is tough because it's a con movie and as such I really can't go into the plot all that much. So, I'll just give a quick little synopsis of the plot, but really if you've seen any trailers for the movie, you know the plot pretty well.

Nicolas Cage plays Roy, a con man (or, as he likes to say, a Con Artist!) who has a lot of problems. For one, he's a compulsive cleaner, he hates the outdoors and he has lot of ticks Roy needs medication to keep him sane.

One day he knocks his pills into the sink and when he calls his doctor to get more he finds out that his doctor is no longer in town! This provides one of the funnier/saddest part of the movie. I'm not sure if it was suppose to be played up for laughs or not, the tone was kind of hard to tell, but Roy spend the next day and a half cleaning his house, his ticks got worst and well it made me feel kind of bad for him.

His partner Frank, played by Sam Rockwell provides him with the number for another psychologist who can help. Roy goes to the psychologist thinking that it'll be easy, to just ask for the pills and he'll get them. No, this guy wants to help Roy and will not give him any pills until he talks. Which, I must say, shows two things. One, Nick Cage is great when he plays these type of rolls, and two, he's damn funny. What he tells the psychologist was both funny and sad. During that time though it's reviled that Roy was married at one time, and when his wife left she was pregnant and he doesn't know what happen to the child who would be 14 by now.

After getting the pills (only a weeks worth mind you) Roy decides to find out about his daughter, but he can't because he's too scared, so after getting the number of his ex wife he asks his psychologist to make the call when he can. Later that night he gets a call from him and finds out that he has a daughter who wants to meet him.

That's as far as I'll go with the plot because the movie really picks up from there as he bonds with his new daughter and sets up a really complex and dangerous con.

Like I said, Nick Cage is great in the movie, but I also want to point out that his daughter, Angela (played by Alison Lohman) was just fantastic to watch. She really lit up the screen when she smiled and it looked like Alison Lohman was just having a ball playing her. She was your typical 14 year old (only, and this shocked me when I found out, Alison Lohman is 24 years old! If you watch it, keep that in mind and tell me she doesn't look like a 14 year old.) who knew just how to work her dad! Some of the funnier moments came after he would yell at her, then she'd start to cry and Roy would just completely collapse and start apologizing for what he said, even if he was completely right! It was just really funny.

Matchstick Men isn't a fast paced movie, it's more of a character study between Roy and Angela and how she changes his life and makes him reprioritizes his values and the way he runs his life.

49 of 63 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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the main con is so bad... skypawel
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predictable after 20 minutes. uludag
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