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  • Writer's pictureJohn Lim

MF 396 : Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

We conclude the 2022 summer movie series with a comedy classic: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988). More at

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Note: the summer movie series will air on Fridays.

Likeable scoundrels = perfect comedy

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Steve Martin and Michael Caine are dueling con artists duking it out in a popular tourist and vacation spot, off the coast of the French Riviera. Freddy Bensen (Martin) is a low brow hustler from the US, using his charm and a myriad of sob stories to cheat women out of a meal or a couple of bucks. In contrast, Lawrence Jameson (Caine) has elevated coning to an artform, cheating heiresses out of tens of thousands of dollars. The two compete for the affections of a contest winner from the midwest; Janet Colgate played in a memorable performance by the late great Glenne Headly. The movie is filled with hijacks, romance, and comedy ranging from slapstick to witty, clever, and caustic. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is comedic gold with a knock out ending that will leaving you feeling clean and refreshed despite its title.

The good:

  • Beautiful scenery and sets set within a relaxing soundtrack and pace. This movie is a visual vacation.

  • Excellent performances by the leads.

  • Clever story, punctuated by humor ranging by low brow to sophisticated and dry.

The bad:

  • None.


  • ***** (out of five)

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988):

  • Not currently streaming but periodically appears on Prime and other major services such as HBO Max.

  • Purchase or rent Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on digital or physical media (Amazon affiliate link).

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