Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5  
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
15

Michael Caine plays a conman's conman at the height of his profession owning, as the fruits of his artistry, a sumptuous villa on a choice parcel of Riviera coastline. Usually posing as a royal in exile, he persuades rich, unattached, and gullible American women to finance the freedom fight of his beleaguered people, with the local police chief (Anton Rodgers) a compliant aide. To their horror a crass opportunist (Steve Martin) with a crude line in blagging free meals from unsuspecting girl tourists, having claimed that his meagre earnings go towards his grandmother's operation, elbows his way onto Caine's home turf, the wealthy resort of Beaumont-sur-mer. An alliance of sorts develops with Caine agreeing to impart some of his finesse, teaching him among other things how to enter a room and pour champagne with aristocratic nonchalance.

Needless to say, both are heading for a fall when their intended mark, Glenne Headly, an American soap queen, enters the frame and turns out to be so nice that she causes hearts to melt.

Frank Oz's film is actually a retread of a 1964 comedy, "Bedtime Story", with David Niven, and Marlon Brando as the mismatched pair. Consequently there is a slightly perfunctory air in the way the story unreels as though it's all been done before. Nevertheless, Caine and Martin make a great double act. Two scenes are particularly memorable, one in which Martin is holed up in the local jail and can't remember the one name that will have him sprung, and the other a ridiculous dinner scene in which he pretends to be Caine's imbecilic brother Ruprecht.

Read a review of "Heartbreakers" tipped to be the female version of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels".

End Credits

Director: Frank Oz

Writer: Dale Launer, Stanley Shapiro, Paul Henning

Stars: Michael Caine, Steve Martin, Glenne Headly, Anton Rogers, Barbara Harris, Ian McDiarmid, Dana Ivey

Genre: Comedy

Length: 110 minutes

Cinema: 1988

DVD: 01 July 2001

VHS: 05 October 1999

Country: USA

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