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   DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (1988) 

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CAST
Steve Martin
Michael Caine
Glenn Headly
Anton Rodgers
Barbara Harris
Ian McDiarmid
Dana Ivey
Meagen Fay
Frances Conroy

DIRECTED BY
Frank Oz

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 112 mins.
Rating: PG
Genre: Comedy


SYNOPSIS: Freddy Benson (Steve Martin) is a crass, loud American. Laurence Jameson (Michael Caine) is a suave, urbane European. Their common ground is that they both are confidence men, and they meet in a train compartment as Benson is scamming his way across Europe. The two are forced into a rivalry, which culminates in a wager to see who can be the first to bilk $50,000 out of American heiress Janet Colgate.

BOTTOM LINE: I remember seeing this film in the theater and being highly amused. A recent viewing has somewhat diminished the laughter, but only slightly. Steve Martin is one of my all-time favorite comedians and his pairing with Michael Caine is a stroke of genius. They are both at the top of their games here, unfortunately the script is somewhat thin and silly. Caine plays to the upper crust, monied older ladies who are looking for a little flattery and a good cause. Martin's cons are more crude, inventing a story about his dying grandmother to garner food and fancy clothes. Caine's operation has been running smoothly and he's not about to let Martin run rampant on his turf.

The competition between them heats up when Headley blows into town as a rich American heiress. What begins as a quest for cash becomes one for love with both men using every dirty trick in the book to win her heart. Most of the film's best moments come from Martin, using his gift for physical comedy with hilarious and often embarrassing results. He'll do anything for a laugh and that helps this plot immensely. Caine and Headley are a good support staff for his wackiness, giving the proceedings a bit more class than some of Martin's other efforts. The film seems sluggish and dated in a few areas, but overall is an amusing, mindless romp that delivers the comedy goods.




"To be with another woman, that is French. To be caught, that is American."

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