Matchstick Men

2003

Matchstick Men

Critics Consensus

Breezy and well-acted, Matchstick Men focuses more on the characters than on the con.

82%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 186

74%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 229,625
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Matchstick Men Photos

Movie Info

Ridley Scott directs the crime comedy Matchstick Men, based on the novel of the same name by Eric Garcia. Neurotic con man Roy (Nicolas Cage) suffers from several emotional problems, including obsessive-compulsive disorder. He and his partner Frank (Sam Rockwell) swindle people out of money by posing as money collectors who promise things like tax refunds, package vacations, and other fabulous prizes (which they never get). Frank wants to pull a really big job, but Roy is too consumed with fear and panic attacks to join him. Only cigarettes and his trusty illegal prescription drugs seem to keep him going. When Roy finds himself in desperate need of more pills, he is forced to see legitimate psychotherapist Dr. Klein (Bruce Altman). Roy ends up talking about his emotional damage from a troubled marriage and divorce, which results in the discovery of a child whom he has never met. Dr. Klein suggests that he spend a weekend with the kid, so in walks teenaged Angela (played by twentysomething Alison Lohman). Reluctant to develop his role as a father, Roy also gets heavily involved in Frank's ambitious swindle. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

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Cast

Nicolas Cage
as Roy Waller
Bruce McGill
as Chuck Frechette
Bruce Altman
as Dr. Klein
Jenny O'Hara
as Mrs. Schaffer
Steve Eastin
as Mr. Schaffer
Beth Grant
as Laundry Lady
Fran Kranz
as Slacker Boyfriend
Bill Saito
as Pharmacist No.1
Tim Maculan
as Pharmacist No.1
Giannina Facio
as Bank Teller
Sonya Eddy
as Parking Garage Cashier
Michael Clossin
as Long-Winded Parking Garage Driver
Kim Cassidy
as Stripper
Paul Hubbard
as Store Clerk
Monnae Michaell
as Carpet Store Manager
Marco Kyris
as Pizza Boy
Jerry Hauck
as Taxi Driver
Jim Zulevic
as Airport Bartender
Ramsey Malouky
as Hospital Intern
Andi Sherrill
as Pharmacy Cashier
Kate Steele
as Strip Club Waitress
Adam Clark
as Strip Club Bouncer
Daniel Villarreal
as Car Wash Employee
Marco Assante
as Valet Parker
Kevin La Rosa
as Helicopter Pilot
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News & Interviews for Matchstick Men

Critic Reviews for Matchstick Men

All Critics (186) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (152) | Rotten (34)

  • Matchstick Men glides from comedy to suspense to poignance, arriving at a destination you might not suspect...Fun while it lasts, but it's a bit of a con job itself.

    Mar 12, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • Matchstick Men never really casts off its cloak of artificiality and calculation; its pleasures are minor, however distracting they may be.

    Jul 7, 2008

    Todd McCarthy

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Ridley Scott lets us enjoy the satisfying clicks and whirrs of the well-oiled celluloid con trick, while leaving plenty of head room for Cage to twitch and fret in.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • [Cage is] funny in his misery, because he has a natural air of exaggeration: he carries his own storm cloud with him, almost like a cartoon of the sad and lonely guys he played in Moonstruck and Raising Arizona.

    Oct 10, 2003 | Full Review…
  • A thoroughly absorbing hour and 56 minutes of entertainment.

    Sep 26, 2003 | Full Review…

    Andrew Sarris

    Observer
    Top Critic
  • Matchstick Men is really two movies brilliantly spliced into one, each enriching the other.

    Sep 16, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Matchstick Men

  • Jul 22, 2017
    I've never been a religious man, dating back to as far as I can remember. My grandma, especially, is very religious. My mom and aunt, who I was raised by, both believe in some form of a higher power. But they've never been overbearing about it. I was never forced to go to church or to pray or any of those other things associated with being raised by a religious family. I guess this is why it was easier for me, when I reached the age of reason (13) to come to the conclusion that believing in a higher power just didn't make sense to me. We know enough about this universe to know that there's no real design to any of it and I've been an atheist ever since then. That's, obviously, a simplification of my thoughts, but that's the basic gist of it. So, yes, I've been an atheist since I started my teens. Until I came to the realization a little while ago that I do, in fact, have a Lord and Savior. And His name is Nicolas Cage. I used to deny the existence of his greatness. But no more, Hallelujah, I have seen the light of His love and it is wondrous. I used to be a nonbeliever, but all that has changed and I've accepted His love and light into my heart and my life has never been the same. If you were expecting me to speak seriously about religion in a Nicolas Cage movie, then I don't know what is wrong with you. But, I digress, let's move on to this movie, shall we? This is one of those flicks that I've always seen on TV (or more recently on Netflix) and I've always wanted to see it from beginning to end (I've seen bits of it here and there). But it's just one of those movies that's on the back of your mind. It's not really where your mind first goes to when you go to pick a movie to watch. It's the movie you have if you've got no time left and you have to pick something quickly. I suppose that's not the most flattering thing to say about a film, but that's just the way I felt about this. I wanted to see it, but it's not like I absolutely needed to do it or else my life would've been incomplete without it. But, after all was said and done, I came away from this movie pleasantly surprised. Well that's not really what I mean, since it's not like I had low expectations for this flick. What I mean is simply the fact that I came away from this pleased with my choice. It's not a movie that, again, I needed to see, but I'm glad I did see it because, surprise surprise, I thought this was good. I know there's a new friend out there that 'disapproves' of my enjoyment of Nic Cage films (you know who you are) and if you're reading this review, then you should watch this movie. In all seriousness, though, while there's some obvious Cage-isms in this film, this is a more subdued version of the man. I've always felt that when Cage is into a script, then he can actually be a really good actor. Perhaps not one of the best, but still pretty damn good. You'd think the fact that Cage plays a character who has OCD and severe tourette's, which manifests itself in uncontrollable tics, would lead to a lot of Cage-isms. But, surprisingly, Cage's tics come across fairly natural and not Cage trying to make a mockery of the whole thing. And I do think that this is something that Cage has excelled that that no one really gives him credit for. And that is selling the physical aspects of whatever ailment his character may have at that particular moment. I am a fair man and I have to give Cage credit where it is earned. As far as the film and its narrative goes, it's all fairly standard and predictable. You can pretty much figure out what's going on almost immediately. I'll try not to spoil things, but it should be obvious for those of you who've watched more than 10 films in your lives, but I just find parts of the narrative to be a little convoluted. There's some many variables in the long con that Frank and Angela play on Roy. For example, Frank has to count on the fact that Roy will listen to his advice about seeing a psychiatrist. I suppose this one would have been easier when taking into consideration the fact that Roy has lost his usual supplier of his medicine, through illicit means, and he sees the psychiatrist as a chance to get more medicine to control his tourette's. That one is fine. But then you have to count on the fact that Roy will chicken out on calling his ex-wife and asking her about their 'daughter' and then ask the psychiatrist to call his ex for him and to set up a meeting with his daughter. Frank has no way of knowing that that Roy will do everything exactly as his plan went. So, yea, I found that to be a little far-fetched to be honest. I still thought the film was good, but I do think what I mentioned held it back a little, to me at least. I still found this to be an entertaining, if not particularly great, caper film. And it's not even a real caper film, since that's not really the endgame, really. At least for Roy. I like that it focuses on the relationship between Roy and Angela, it gives me Roy a stability in life that he never had. It's a little cliched, but I think Nic Cage and Alison Lohman have good chemistry and they make it work. Sam Rockwell is always amazing and I, honestly, wish he was in this movie a little more than he was. He always makes things better and I feel that if his character had been featured more, the film might have been better. But that's neither here nor there. Don't know what else I can say about this flick. I've gone over it all. The cast is great and, easily, the best part of the film. The narrative, while predictable, gets the job done, they do a good enough job at making you invested in these characters. There's something missing here, to be sure, but I thought this was a good movie and I'd certainly recommend it if you've been on a string of shitty movies and would just like to watch a good one for a change. Nothing you really need to see here, but this is still enjoyable.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Oct 04, 2016
    Ridley Scott's con movie outing is charming, but overplayed, which serves to give away the ending long before the end. Kinda ruined it for me. And the main con in the piece never questions the actions of his subordinates, which he calmly tells us, is his main job. And so, meh.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Apr 18, 2014
    Cage gives a great performance as an obsessive compulsive con artist, Alison Lohman is good as Angela, and Sam Rockwell as just as good as he normally is in roles like this. it's a good attempt at a dramedy by director Ridley Scott, and the film is both well paced and well written.
    Michael E Super Reviewer
  • Feb 27, 2013
    Another surprise. This one came out with tepid reviews and I was expecting another tepid Cage film but the plot sucks you in and the twists and turns are completely surprising. Very entertaining.
    John B Super Reviewer

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