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Movie Review - Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Updated on February 19, 2015

On the prowl




Cast-Steve Martin, Michael Caine, Glenne Headly

Director-Frank Oz

What do you get when you pit one con against another? This is the zany premise on which this marvellous comic caper sprints, taking you along through some crazy ventures of this extreme- opposites twin team. The unknowing targets are the rich and the famous of the French Riviera coast.

Freddy Benson (Steve Martin) is the overconfident small-town con who just about skims the top off his victims for small prize. A frog in his own little world, he smirks unbelievably at the tall claims of Mr. Sophisticated Lawrence Jamieson (Michael Caine) who lists among his targets the high-riding snooties of the rich Riviera.

A skeptical Freddy agrees to join hands, and heads, with Lawrences’ enterprising loot ventures. The duo hit it bang on and Freddy is impressed with his partner's marvellous methods of charmed conning. At first, all seems to go well. But as the time for the spoils and credit come to to be claimed, Freddy feels short changed. He decides to part ways with Lawrence.

Lawrence, sensing unwanted competition in his lucrative hunting ground, finally decides to take matter into his own hands. He calls for a bet whereby the loser shall have to surrender territory and leave the gold spot forever, never to return back to bother the other. Freddy takes the challenge head-on, and the rest that follows is an uproarious showplay of madcap characters playing incredulous antics to dupe and play catch-up with each other in a race of first con, first serve by baiting a randomly selected innocent as their target.

Steve Martin as the wide-grin goofball and Michael Caine as the sophisticated, tactical game palyer are perfectly casted to highlight the extreme disparities between the two con characters. Glenne Headly as Janet is just right as the vulnerable to-be victim on whose light shoulders lay the burden of deciding the fates of these two tricksters, all alluringly set in the scenic backdrop of the French Riviera.

A perfect amalgamation of competent acting and a luring plot with a delightful little twist keeps the viewer hooked not only till the end, but also has that rare magical pull which keeps one entertained even after numerous repeat viewings.

The End


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