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Matchstick Men (2003)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 12 September 2003 (USA)
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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.

Director:

Ridley Scott

Writers:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cage ... Roy Waller
Sam Rockwell ... Frank Mercer
Alison Lohman ... Angela
Bruce Altman ... Dr. Klein
Bruce McGill ... Chuck Frechette
Jenny O'Hara ... Mrs. Schaffer
Steve Eastin ... Mr. Schaffer
Beth Grant ... Laundry Lady
Sheila Kelley ... Kathy
Fran Kranz ... Slacker Boyfriend
Tim Kelleher ... Bishop
Nigel Gibbs ... Holt
Bill Saito Bill Saito ... Pharmacist #1
Tim Maculan ... Pharmacist #2
Stoney Westmoreland ... Man in Line
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 September 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los tramposos See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$62,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

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

Gross USA:

$36,906,460

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$28,659,212
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bruce McGill and Bruce Altman also appear in Recount (2008). See more »

Goofs

When Roy is waiting for Angela after summer school, there is a parked Toyota in the vision, but next scene the parked Toyota parks again. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Late Night with Conan O'Brien: The Skeleton Show (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Perfidia
Written by Alberto Domínguez
Performed by Mantovani & His Orchestra
Courtesy of Decca Music Group Limited
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Wonderful 'Sting' Film with a Twist!
12 September 2003 | by cariartSee all my reviews

Anyone who thinks director Ridley Scott doesn't have a gentler side (after all, GLADIATOR, HANNIBAL, and BLACK HAWK DOWN are not exactly 'touchy-feely' movies) may be in for a surprise with his latest, MATCHSTICK MEN. The story of extremely neurotic but brilliant con man Nicolas Cage ("I'm not a criminal," he explains to his shrink, "Criminals hurt people; I don't..."), discovering a daughter he never knew he had (Alison Lohman, of WHITE OLEANDER), on the eve of a big 'Sting', offers as much emphasis on his acceptance of his new parental responsibilities as on the caper he and his partner (the always watchable Sam Rockwell) are pulling off. Cage plays the role brilliantly, making his quirky character sympathetic, and Scott proves again why he is one of Hollywood's premier directors.

The success of a film like this depends on the chemistry between the leads, and Cage and Lohman are terrific together. The young actress manages to be 'sweet' without being 'innocent', and the tentative steps she and Cage take to understand each other are both believable, and touching. In one scene, he attempts to prove to her that he can cook by preparing a spaghetti dinner...after one bite, the scene shifts to the arrival of the Domino's delivery boy!

Ultimately, however, MATCHSTICK MEN is a tale of 'The Con', and Cage and Rockwell's 'Sting' against 'fat cat' Bruce McGill, while appearing deceptively simple, has a series of twists and turns, leading to a climax that is both stunning and unexpected. This is the kind of movie that will have you putting pieces together, LONG after it ends.

It is an intriguing and rewarding film, and shouldn't be missed!


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