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-90s 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 him, he decides to blackmail Lawrence to work ... Written by
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.
38 of 45 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?