Two New Yorkers are accused of murder in rural Alabama while on their way back to college, and one of their cousins--an inexperienced, loudmouth lawyer not accustomed to Southern rules and manners--comes in to defend them.
Lawrence and Freddie are con-men; big-time and small time respectively. They unsuccessfully attempt to work together only to find that this town (on the French Mediterranean coast) aint big enough for the two of them. They agree to a "loser leaves" bet. The bet brings out the best/worse in the two. Interesting twist at the end. Written by
Everything clicks in this laugh-out-loud gem. Steve Martin and Michael Caine are in top form as Freddy Benson and Lawrence Jamieson, two con men who agree that this town (on the French Mediterranean coast) ain't big enough for the both of them. To solve the problem, they agree upon a solution - the first man to swindle $50,000 from a naive young woman gets to stay. The competition brings out the very best of their very worst, with Martin posing as a paraplegic and Caine as a psychiatrist eager to help convince him it's all in his head. Glenne Headly, as the target of the cons, deserves special mention for her brilliant performance.
One of the strongest assets of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" is that the story is interesting enough, with its various twists and turns, that it would work great even without being funny. The laughs - and there are many of them - are a sort of gut-hurting bonus. The scene in which Caine tests the nerves in Martin's legs must rank as one of the most uproarious in film history. This one from director Frank Oz (certainly no slouch in the comedy department) is not to be missed.
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