With the help of a talking freeway billboard, a wacky weatherman tries to win the heart of an English newspaper reporter, who is struggling to make sense of the strange world of early 1990s Los Angeles.
Richard E. Grant
Wealthy native Brit Lawrence Jamieson, living in Beaumont-sur-Mer on the French Riviera, earns most of his money through big cons on wealthy unsuspecting women. With the help of his associates -- corrupt police Inspector Andre, who provides him most of his intel, and his butler Arthur -- he pulls scams such as pretending to be a foreign deposed prince who needs money to finance a secret war to liberate his people. Beaumont-sur-Mer, and thus his world, is invaded by brash American Freddy Benson, another con man whose targets are also wealthy unsuspecting women. Lawrence believes Freddy is the Jackal, a con man whose true identity is unknown but who is known to be working his way through Europe. While Lawrence works on thousands of dollars per scam, Freddy works only on tens or if he is lucky hundreds of dollars. Lawrence's efforts to get Freddy out of his territory are unsuccessful, so when Freddy figures out that Lawrence is a con man like he is, he decides to blackmail Lawrence to ... Written by
The film was originally a project for Mick Jagger and David Bowie. After the success of their "Dancing in the Street" video in 1985, studio bosses were anxious to put them in a movie together. Dale Launer was brought in, based on the success of Ruthless People (1986), and asked to submit ideas. Jagger had previously written the title song to Ruthless People (1986), based on his enthusiasm for Launer's script. Launer had seen the original film, Bedtime Story (1964), on television once before, and suggested a remake. Launer acquired the remake rights from one of the original writers, Stanley Shapiro. During development, Jagger and Bowie dropped out of the project, and Martin and Caine were brought in as replacements. According to Bowie, he and Jagger were "a bit tweezed that we lost out on a script that could have been reasonably good". See more »
When Lawrence and Freddy are in the museum discussing how money should be spent they are standing in front of the statue of a "naked lady". As they continue to talk they walk around two corners and then stop at the top of the stairs when Freddy claims his independence and walks away down the stairs. When the camera angle changes to look up the stairs, the statue of the naked lady is behind Lawrence at the top of the stairs. See more »
English Sailor #1:
[to a 'wheelchair-bound' Freddie, as Lawrence tries to goad him into getting up and dancing... two sailors are watching and one calls out to Freddie]
Oy! Oy mate! Who's the asshole!
English Sailor #2:
Get up and dance, he says! I'd like to smack him one!
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I really don't watch this movie often enough. The few times I've seen it over the years provide superior entertainment, but it's a film I seem to forget about. That shouldn't be the case: it's a terrific movie.
I've never met anyone who did NOT like this movie. It seems to appeal to a lot of people, young and old. The three leads - Steve Martin, Michael Caine and Glenn Headley - were all in top form, on top of their "game," so to speak.
Martin's facial expressions and physical humor are terrific and Caine played his part magnificently, too. I enjoy Caine much more in here than Martin (and in most films) but Steve seems to have the funniest moments in this movie. At any rate, both are superb as antagonists "Lawrence Jamison" (Caine) and "Freddie Benson" (Martin). The two men have the talent to pull off slapstick as well as subtle comedy. Headley, as "Janet Colgate," meanwhile, is a joy to watch and to listen to, with that sweet voice of hers. I can't say more about her without giving away too much but she is not only the objection of attention in the movie, but the key character. These three combine for almost a laugh-a-minute.
This also is a good example of how to make a modern-day comedy without all the sleaze and profanity. There is some in here, but not much. Why most comedies do not follow this lead is a sad question. It's still an adult movie about con men, not a film teens and below would enjoy. Frank Oz, who directed other pretty clean-and-funny movies, directed this one.
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