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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • 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 under him to learn the art of the sophisticated and thus more lucrative con. Eventually, Lawrence and Freddy have a difference in how to operate their joint cons, so they issue each other an ultimatum: the person who is able to con a mark out of $50,000 first will get the French Riviera as their territory, with the other having to leave forever. Who they choose is naive and slightly bumbling American "soap queen" Janet Colgate, who has just arrived in the area. The nature of how each tries to get the $50,000 from Janet changes over time, each needing to play off the other's con. But their focus may change with more information learned about the situation, as well as some external factors they did not anticipate.

    - Written by Huggo
  • 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 Rob Hartill
  • Freddy Benson, a con(fidence) man, lives off women by waking their compassion with shocking stories about his fake fate. One day in beautiful Beaumont sur Mer, he meets Lawrence Jamieson, who shares the same passion, works the rich ladies with the same scheme, but in quite a different league. With the knowledge of his profession, Freddy forces Lawrence to teach him high-society behaviour, so that he himself can earn a major living. When time comes to say goodbye, Freddy decides to stay a little longer. As there is no way two con men can work a town that small at the same time, Lawrence and Freddy agree on a settlement: The first one to extract $50.000 from a young female target wins, the other leaves town. The sum is no match for Lawrence, the age of the lady no match for Freddy. Let the games begin!

    - Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>
  • Two con men try to settle their rivalry by betting on who can swindle a young American heiress out of $50,000 first.

    - Written by Anonymous

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