A raunchy, romantic comedy about art forgery, thievery, and all manner of con-artistry that’s as hard to resist as one of Davy Dempsey’s cons.
Davy, whose older sister Sophie starred in Crusie’s last outing (Welcome to Temptation, 2000), comes from a long line of scam artists. He arrives in Columbus, Ohio, to steal back his own money from ex-girl friend Clea, a charmer whose wealthy husbands tend to die under suspicious circumstances. Davy’s plan is to go straight once he has the money, but old habits die hard. Born into a family of art swindlers, Tilda Goodnight is now a respectable painter of residential masterpiece murals (Botticelli in the bathroom). She’s desperate to “retrieve” a painting her niece has mistakenly sold to Clea that could expose Tilda’s larcenous teenage career, when she painted under the name Scarlet Hodge, the imaginary daughter of the respected primitive Homer Hodge. Davy and Tilda meet in Clea’s closet while attempting their separate burglaries. Soon Davy has rented a room at the Goodnight Gallery and met Tilda’s lovely, unhappy mother Gwen, her angelic sister Eve, Eve’s gay ex-husband and troubled adolescent daughter, not to mention Eve’s lascivious alter ego Louise. The Goodnights are a family of eccentric delights, and Crusie avoids the pitfall of portraying them as too impossibly cute or sweet: the sense of real human frailty in all her characters makes even the villains oddly endearing. As Davy helps Tilda retrieve the rest of the Scarlets, the two play a game of sexual cat and mouse that culminates in some very hot sex. Meanwhile, Gwen, who has a secret of her own, is courted both by the art patron Clea has marked as her next fiancé and by the Goodnights’ mysterious new Gallery boarder, whom they suspect Clea has hired as a hit man to kill Davy in this roller-coaster ride of double identities, scams, and misinformation, none meant to be taken too seriously.
Perfect escapist fare: Who knew Ohio could be so much fun?