Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 38
  2. Negative: 2 out of 38
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    Odd mixture of ultra-sleek visuals, psychological probing, "Paper Moon"-like father-daughter swindling, self-improvement efforts and abrupt tough-guy stuff keeps the picture percolating, even if it seems too artificial to genuinely convince on an emotional or dramatic level.
  2. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    60
    Scott's finesse can't entirely disguise the mechanical nature of Nicholas and Ted Griffin's script, which has one too many twists for its own good. Fun while it lasts, but it's a bit of a con job itself.
  3. 60
    Single-dad sitcom is not Sir Ridley's forte but, anachronistically evoking the ring-a-ding-ding ambience of "Auto Focus" and "Catch Me If You Can," his mise-en-scène is as impeccable as Roy's pad.
  4. Both entertaining and empty: an emotional shell game that leaves you feeling cheated even though, on the surface at least, everyone is a winner.
  5. 60
    The soundtrack, which relies heavily on melancholy Sinatra standards like "The Good Life," "This Town" and "Summer Wind," casts perfectly modulated warning shadows over the film's light, bright look.
  6. Cleverly conceived, skillfully made and performed with unflagging verve, it's a change of pace (slower) and scale (smaller) for Mr. Scott, the director of such pounding epics as "Gladiator" and "Black Hawk Down." Yet this intimate, intricate con about a couple of petty con men selling water filtration systems is also remote and forgettable in the end, a lapidary icicle.
  7. 58
    Despite a cast of solid actors and a director with one of the most exquisite visual sensibilities in the business, the film is too often flat when we want it to dazzle us.
  8. The movie is moderately enjoyable, but it also makes you feel conned: It offers up a disturbing protagonist and then substitutes cuteness for character.
  9. 50
    Matchstick Men isn't even remotely intricate; it's not even particularly interesting.
  10. Everything in Matchstick Men moves and looks right, from John Mathieson's cinematography to Tom Foden's production design, so it's puzzling that the film fizzles rather than fizzes.
  11. 50
    Anyone who regularly watches caper flicks will likely quickly figure out what's wrong with this picture, though the twist ending is likely to be a surprise for the less jaded.
  12. A movie about con artists that turns out to be a con job, and guess who's getting played for a sucker?
  13. 50
    Instead of exploding, it implodes.
  14. Reviewed by: Renee Graham
    50
    Rockwell is a hoot as Frankie, but during the stretches when he's not on screen, the air goes out of the film.
  15. 50
    The good news is that Matchstick Men is saved. Not by the plot, which entails a con so long that you can spot it coming a mile off, but by the presence of Alison Lohman. [22 September 2003, p. 202]
  16. The movie so successfully raises the emotional and psychological stakes in the first half that not all audiences may like the film's reversion to con-artist form in the second. The con itself is preposterous and full of holes when we think back after the movie.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 163 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 38
  2. Negative: 5 out of 38
  1. Jake
    Feb 5, 2007
    9
    Cage is great in this film. He plays the part extremly well. It is a very humorous movie with a great story. Rockwell and Lohman were great Cage is great in this film. He plays the part extremly well. It is a very humorous movie with a great story. Rockwell and Lohman were great for the roles that they played. They gelled very well with Cage. Full Review »
  2. HenryS
    Aug 15, 2009
    9
    This is quite an amazing movie, mainly because Alison Lohman's performance was enough to knock anyone off their seats, I still have a This is quite an amazing movie, mainly because Alison Lohman's performance was enough to knock anyone off their seats, I still have a hard time believing she was really 23 then! and the end is indeed original, loved it all. Full Review »
  3. DaraHMude
    Mar 20, 2006
    8
    its a great movie i think. i like the scene where cage and angela hangout together... the ending makes the movie even more unforgettable. i its a great movie i think. i like the scene where cage and angela hangout together... the ending makes the movie even more unforgettable. i wish it would not end up like that because their relationship was very beautiful. Full Review »