Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Sometimes an idea for a movie comes along that is timeless. The movie could be set in the thirties, the fifties, the seventies, today, or twenty years from now. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is such a movie and it happens to be set... in the late eighties.

Laurence Jamieson (Caine) is a con-man. But not an ordinary con-man. He's very suave, very sophisticated, and very, very good. He lives in a huge house overlooking the sea in the French town of Beaumont Sur Mer. He wines, dines, beds, robs, and abandons rich, lonely women - but always leaves them with a slightly satisfied look on their faces.

Imagine his disgust when another con-man tries to muscle in on his patch. Freddy Benson (Martin) arrives with a much more low-class, love them and leave them, style. After Jamieson uses his tame police chief (Rogers) to arrest Benson and interrogate him, an unlikely deal is struck - if Jamieson helps Benson to be released, Benson will leave the town for ever. However, after meeting one of Jamieson's former 'conquests' on the plane home, Benson knows he's been had and returns to strike an unusual deal. Jamieson will teach him the art of the upmarket scam in return for his cooperation.

However, after 'artistic differences' and the potential pickings becoming apparent, Benson decides that there may be anough for them both.

Finally, a challenge is drawn up - the first one to extract $50,000 from an unsuspecting target wins, and the loser leaves town. They select Janet Colgate (Headly) a sweet, if rather dizzy american girl, fresh from the States, and apparently loaded. The die is cast, the lines drawn. Who will win? Will either of them win? Or is there another player in the game?


As I said above, the idea for this movie is timeless. It's an old Ealing Comedy. It's Cary Grant and Spencer Tracy. It's one of those movies that appeals on so many levels. It's also very, very funny.

Caine and Martin are in superb form, each playing to their strengths, with Caine, especially, showing a comedic side not seen since his movies in the sixties (Alfie, The Italian Job). Steve Martin is the ever reliable funny man we expect, and never lets us down. Rogers and Headly are great, and there is also very good support from the rest of the cast - especially those duped by our heroes.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Excellent perfomances and a superb plot.

Weaknesses? Hmmmm... got me there!

Our rating: 9.5 out of 10

Review Written by Paul Shrimpton:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Paul Shrimpton
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels