The 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels might be an imperfect classic. But this loose remake of the 1964 film Bedtime Story remains a classic nonetheless.
The movie is a pretty traditional snobs versus slobs 80s comedy. Michael Caine stars as a high-brow con-man who tricks wealthy women from around the world into giving him enormous sums of money. Steve Martin co-stars as the low-brow misogynist huckster who's running an identical scam — except that he's simply happy to make just 20 bucks off of a woman. They team up, and predictable hilarity ensues when they set their sights on an unsuspecting heiress played by the amazing Glenne Headly.
There's probably nothing harder in the world of media than feature-length comedy movies. It's incredibly difficult to sustain a compelling plot and sufficient laughs per minute to justify a given movie's classification as "comedy." Often times a comedy will sacrifice character development in an attempt to squeeze out every last laugh possible. But Frank Oz, the director of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, never falls into this trap, arguably overcorrecting to give us plenty of time to care about each character. Or what we think to be each character and their true nature.
I won't spoil the movie if you haven't seen it, but needless to say, Caine and Martin's characters get what's coming to them. You can stream Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on Netflix. And if you've got time tonight, I highly recommend that you do.
Image: Screenshot from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
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