Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

1988, Movie, PG, 110 mins

Review

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Set in the sun-drenched south of France, this well-crafted remake of BEDTIME STORY (1964) stars Caine in the role Niven originated and Martin in the Brando part. Caine is a sophisticated con man who operates in the seaside town of Beaumont-sur-Mer. Masquerading as the exiled leader of a tiny nation fighting to liberate itself from communist rule, he romances middle-aged American women and "accepts" their generous contributions to the cause. Martin is a third-rate American hustler posing as a tragic innocent with a sick grandmother, who begins plying his trade on the Cote d'Azur and attracts the attention of Caine. Because there is not room in town for two such con men, they agree to a contest: the first one to get $50,000 from American "soap queen" Headly wins, with the loser to leave Beaumont-sur-Mer. Assuming false identities, the pair duel in character to win their mark's trust and affection, hilariously reversing each other's gains with clever counteractions. Directed by Muppet manipulator-actor-director Oz, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS is an amusing comedy whose strengths and weaknesses both stem from the broad treatment of the material. In going for easy, lowest-common-denominator laughs, Oz loses much of the subtlety and occasionally dark humor of the orginal. By the same token, however, moments that elecited only smiles in BEDTIME STORY produce great guffaws here. leave a comment

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