Critic Reviews



Based on 14 critic reviews provided by
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a wonderfully crafted, absolutely charming remake of the 1964 film "Bedtime Story." In this classy version, Steve Martin and Michael Caine play the competing French Riviera conmen trying to outscheme each other in consistently amusing and surprising setups. Martin takes the crass American role played by Marlon Brando, and Caine plays homage to David Niven by sporting a thin mustache, slicked-back hair and double-breasted blue blazer in a sort of 1930s British yachtsman look.
Wall Street Journal
I never saw the original, but the sprightly remake couldn't be more delightful. As the ultra-suave Lawrence Jamison, Mr. Caine wears his hair and mustache Niven-like -- slicked down but never greasy. He manages to draw more laughs by merely reacting than most comics can pull out of a punchline. With his calculated coarseness, Mr. Martin is a perfect foil. Behind the scenes is former Muppet Man Frank Oz. He pulls the strings so deftly he never disturbs the froth. [15 Dec 1988, p.1]
The chemistry between Martin and Caine is fun, and Headly provides a resilient foil as a woman who looks like a pushover but somehow never seems to topple.
Boston Globe
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels essentially remains a duet of exquisitely turned gestures exchanged by Martin and Caine. It isn't killer comedy. Sometimes its leisurely pace veers dangerously close to slackness. But it's as close as Hollywood comedy comes to chamber music. [14 Dec 1988, p.77]
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Most of this is bald, and very funny; some of it is witty, and even funnier. [14 Dec 1988, p.C9]
Directed by Muppet manipulator-actor-director Oz, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is an amusing comedy whose strengths and weaknesses both stem from the broad treatment of the material. In going for easy, lowest-common-denominator laughs, Oz loses much of the subtlety and occasionally dark humor of the orginal.
Steve Martin does his schtik to perfection and Michael Caine unveils some adroit comic timing in this charming but mediocre comedy.
San Francisco Chronicle
This disappointing comedy, which seems to move at a snail's pace, is almost saved by the gorgeous scenery and settings, crisply photographed. Locations include the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, the harbor at Juan-les-Pins, and other lovely spots on the Cote d'Azur. [14 Dec 1988, p.E1]
USA Today
Scoundrels isn't rock-bottom. That a more sturdy vehicle couldn't be found for such stellar leads, though, is a dirty rotten shame. [14 Dec 1988, p. 4D]
Chicago Tribune
A character comedy requires some notion of respect and integrity. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has none. [14 Dec 1988, p.1]

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