Monday, May 21, 2012

A Dirty Rotten Review

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Starring: Steve Martin and Michael Caine
Released: December 14th 1988 

     Every now and then while flipping through the channels on a lazy afternoon you are bound to stumble across a classic movie being shown  - this is how I came across "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels".

    "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" is a movie that I have had every of intention of watching for years. A long time ago I put it on my IMDb "To Watchlist" - for those who don't know what that is you can register on IMDb and create a "To Watchlist". You simply click through all the movies you've ever wanted to watch and then as you watch them you remove them, it's a great way to make yourself feel accomplished without actually accomplishing anything. But I digress.

    The thing that drew me to this movie were the stars of the film, Michael Caine and Steve Martin are two of today's most well respected and bankable actors and the idea of them working together had me intrigued. "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" is the story of two con men at different points in their careers. Martin plays the young swindler who is always looking for a quick buck from an unsuspecting and sympathetic female where as Caine is at the top of the food chain with elaborate back stories and a sprawling mansion - Caine is only after the big fish.

    A chance meeting leads to Caine and Martin forming a mentor and protege type of arrangement until inevitably the protege believes he is ready to surpass his mentor and thus a conflict is born. The two men agree upon a target and the first one of them to get the woman to give up $50,000 is declared the winner and the other must leave town. Hilarity ensues.

    "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" does what it sets out to do. It entertains you. The story(written by Dale Launer, Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning) has great pacing(even while watching it on TV with commercial breaks) and the Director(Frank Oz) does a masterful job of not having this movie become goofy or unhinged. He plays up Martin for the laughs and uses Caine as the straight man. The two have great chemistry and play off of each other extremely well.

    In fact the two work so well together I am truly surprised that we have never seen a sequel. With Hollywood seemingly running low on ideas(everything is either a reboot, a remake or a sequel) this movie would surely fit the bill for one of those, I would love to see an older Caine and Martin still making their rounds some 25 years later.
    After taking some time to digest the movie I really regret not seeing this movie earlier in my life. While I was only three years old when it initially came out I can't help but think that if I had been exposed to this movie in my teen years it may have become one of my favorite movies of all time. As it stands now, it's very good and I'd be happy to watch it again. If you haven't seen this movie yet, do yourself a favor and go pick it up($9.99 at Best Buy) grab a tub of popcorn and just enjoy yourself for a couple of hours.

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