Under the Radar

Steve Martin's 'Stolen Valor' in 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels'

Glenne Headly, Steve Martin and Michael Caine star in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

Steve Martin, Michael Caine and Glenne Headly's 1998 movie comedy "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" has just gotten a new, beautifully remastered reissue from Shout Factory.

Frank Oz, best known for playing Yoda in the Star Wars movies and his work with the Muppets, directed this story about a pair of con men on the French Riviera. They have a contest to see who can take $50,000 off a woman they believe to be an American heiress.

The movie is a remake of the 1965 movie "Bedtime Story" that featured Marlon Brando and David Niven in the Martin and Caine roles. Since Martin is involved, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" is a far sillier comedy, one that holds up remarkably well three decades after release.

Steve's con man Freddy Benson pretends to be a wheelchair-bound military man who needs money for his grandmother's operation. His uniform and medals offer a field day for anyone who loves to be outraged by any incorrect representation of our men and women in uniform. Plus he's pretending to be a wounded warrior in order to convince a mark to give him $50,000 for a fake operation. How could much more stolen could valor be?

Caine's con man Lawrence Jamieson then pretends to be the doctor who can cure Freddy, and the contest begins in earnest. There are plenty of twists here and the plot diverges wildly from "Bedtime Story" but, in the end, the best con artist wins.

The setup is remarkably sturdy, having yielded two excellent movies so far. MGM has announced a new remake called "Nasty Women" with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson taking the leads as two cons who aim to swindle a naive tech prodigy.

"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" remains a hilarious classic and would be even more fun to watch with anyone who's on the hunt to fuel their Stolen Valor Outrage.

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