Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Based on 1964’s Bedtime Story, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels follows con artists Lawrence Jamieson (Michael Caine) and Freddy Benson (Steve Martin) as they compete to see which one can successfully bilk an heiress (Glenne Headly’s Janet Colgate) out of $50,000 first. Filmmaker Frank Oz, working from a script by Dale Launer, Stanley Shapiro, and Paul Henning, delivers a deliberately-paced yet consistently entertaining comedy that benefits substantially from Caine and Martin’s superb work, as the movie boasts an often episodic narrative that’s a little uneven, admittedly, but has been peppered with several memorable and admittedly hilarious set-pieces – with the movie’s highlight undoubtedly Martin’s now-iconic turn as the dimwitted Ruprecht. There aren’t a ton of surprises to be had within Dirty Rotten Scoundrels‘ slightly overlong 110 minute running time, and yet Oz does a nice job of keeping things interesting and escalating the stakes on an ongoing basis – with the twist-laden third act ultimately ensuring that the whole thing ends on a palpably agreeable note.

*** out of ****

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