Saturday, March 07, 2009

MOVIES: #25 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

One more movie with an accent. Several, in fact. 1988's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is set in the south of France and features the sophisticated Micheal Caine as one half of a con-man duo of frenemies with Steve Martin. And there's nothing like a competition over a beautiful young thing, to set the laughing muscles to work.

The con men certainly don't start the show at loggerheads. Martin's Freddy is a lower-rung con artist, attempting to move up into the big time. Caine's Lawrence is the world-weary experienced vet. Both work little old ladies to finance their way through life, although Freddy is willing to pick up spare change and material along the way. He's looking for a mentor and the calm, cool and collected Lawrence fills the bill. Lawrence is reluctant in the beginning, thinking of Freddy is a spoiler of his good life. Eventually, the shared enemy of the local Inspector (Anton Rogers) puts them on the same wrong side of the law. Each of Caine and Martin throw in a panoply of characters while pulling off plots right and left. It's, in a way, a sketch show in some respects.

Things are moving along quite nicely until the arrival of the beautiful young thing, Glenne Headly, playing Janet. Simultaneously, the Inspector hears of a NEW threat to law and order in his little town. The Jackal.

Lawrence and Freddy have a falling out over Janet and a contest is devised to provide the winner with continued life locally and the affections of our fair Janet. The loser must leave town. The specter of the Jackal is ephemeral at best.

The contest's ending does produce a surprise and it's worth watching through to the final credits to see it. You'll laugh all the way.

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