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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

A cultured and elegant British con man (Michael Caine) meets up with a crass and vulgar American con man (Steve Martin) and reluctantly agrees to mentor him in the hopes that he won't impinge on his territory. When it becomes clear that the French Riviera isn't big enough for the both of them, they make a wager over the fortunes of a naive American soap heiress (Glenne Headly, who passed away this week) and the loser clears out for good. Directed by Frank Oz (LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS), this is a remake of the 1965 comedy BEDTIME STORY. For the most part, it's an above average comedy with an effortlessly comedic performance by Caine and a charming one by Headly. But Steve Martin's broad (and I mean broad) performance is out of sync with the rest of the film. Everyone else seems to be on the same page with its faux Lubitsch sophisticated comedy while Martin acts like he's in a sequel to THE JERK. And I could have done without the film's last seven minutes. But those qualms aside, the film remains a pleasant diversion. There's a marvelous score by Miles Goodman that, rare for a comedy, doesn't sound all Mickey Mouse. With Barbara Harris, Anton Rodgers, Dana Ivey, Frances Conroy, Louis Zorich and Ian McDiarmid.

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