Monday, 17 December 2012

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Review

I think I may have seen this movie long ago.  But I had forgotten what had happened.  All I could remember was that it was about two con artists and the original promotional ads had a re-lyriced "God, Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" song in it ("Steve Martin wins their sympathy with heart so pure and true.  Michael Caine then collects their revenue.  Re-e-ven-ue.  'Cause they're Dirty Rotten Scoundrels through and through. 'Aaaaah' (as Martin pushes an old lady into a swimming pool - something that doesn't even happen in the movie.)."  Basically, it is just a movie about two con men who are competing against each other for a lucrative territory in the south of France.  As with most 80s comedies, there is nothing deep or revolutionary about this movie.  Back then, movies like this were almost churned out on an assembly line.  But that doesn't make them less entertaining.

The reason this one is entertaining is not because of any superior writing or quirky and different story.  Quite the contrary.  Most of the technical aspects of this movie are very run of the mill.  What makes this a good movie is the choice of actors to play the con men.  Throughout his career, Michael Caine has always been able to play "sophisticated scamp."  He could actually be a member of the royal family.  He's upper crust but you always get the feeling that he is going to misbehave.  Steve Martin does what he does best: be a goofball.  His portrayal of "Ruprecht" in some of the scams is classic Martin and will make me laugh every time.  For the rest of the movie, he's the typical, lovable, "aw shucks" kind of guy that we all like.  Put the two at odds with each other and it's a formula that works.  You're always anticipating how one is going to screw over the other.

Outside of the two main actors, the rest of the acting is actually poor to average.  But it isn't bad enough to take away from the entertainment.  I did like the choice of having the movie take place in Europe.  For some reason, it gave it an air of class that a contemporary setting like New York or even London would have failed at.

It isn't the best movie you'll ever see but it is solid as a comedy.  See it.

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