Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Review

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Two con artists of very different styles find themselves preying on the same patch on the Riviera and finally decide to team up with an increasingly ridiculous premise to extort money from the rich society dames.

by John Mount |
Published on
Release Date:

01 Jun 1989

Running Time:

110 minutes



Original Title:

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

The original 1964 version of this tale, starring David Niven and Marlon Brando as a pair of Riviera conmen, was described by The Daily Express as "the most vulgar and embarassing film of the year". Why major names should then be queueing up to re-make it is a mystery.

It began with David Bowie and Mick Jagger deciding this would be a good point of departure for their joint movie career, continued with Eddie Murphy briefly wanting to take it over and finally – many directors later – Steve Martin and Michael Caine agreeing to do it, the latter reputedly because the Riviera in February took him away from the rainy season in LA.

Caine is the old time cad preying on wealthy society dames, Martin is the crass con artist for whom no hard luck story is too ludicrous. By sweetly contrived circumstances, Martin and Caine start trading gags as, respectively, traumatised war veteran and martinet Austrian shrink in a spiral of endurance involving everything from runaway wheelchairs to legless seduction, all gloriously tasteless material for Martin's wild and crazy antics. And Caine displays a surprisingly deft grasp of comic delivery throughout.

Steve Martin does his schtik to perfection and Michael Caine unveils some adroit comic timing in this charming but mediocre comedy.
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