Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    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.
  2. Line by line, the dialogue isn't all that quotable, but there is consistently funny life on the screen. The film's comic timing is nearly flawless.
  3. 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]
  4. 80
    Director Frank Oz has brought a devilish tang to the machinations here, and the actors bring a sense of a spoiled grandeur to their characters' mingy souls.
  5. 75
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    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]
  7. Most of this is bald, and very funny; some of it is witty, and even funnier. [14 Dec 1988, p.C9]
  8. Blithe, reasonably witty, with as many story twists as a Riviera roadway, its greatest assets are its glorious look and Michael Caine, his hair full of Dippety-Doo, his heart full of larceny. [14 Dec 1988, p.1]
  9. Set on the French Riviera, the movie has the kind of plot that cries out for the stylish treatment that a Billy Wilder could bring to it; without it, the various twists seem needlessly spun out and implausible, although Martin is allowed to show off his brand of very physical comedy to some advantage, and Miles Goodman contributes a pleasant score.
  10. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    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.
  11. Reviewed by: John Mount
    Steve Martin does his schtik to perfection and Michael Caine unveils some adroit comic timing in this charming but mediocre comedy.
  12. 50
    A character comedy requires some notion of respect and integrity. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has none. [14 Dec 1988, p.1]
  13. 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]
  14. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    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]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jun 8, 2014
    This movie is very funny and keeps the audiences attention throughout. You'll find yourself laughing throughout and really care for the characters as well. The movie is really 8-9/10 but after watching The Grand Budapest Hotel which got raving reviews, I must give this a 10/10. The two films do not compare, with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels being infinitely better! Full Review »
  2. Aug 19, 2010
    Man makes money conning rich women in French Riviera, man shows up trying similar scam, takes him under his wing, hit on same women, fracas!
    Average comedy which works through the good chemistry between Steve Martin & Michael Caine.
    Not too many big laughs (Steve Martin's Ruprick bits are the standout) but it's entertaining & lots of good supporting actors.
    Full Review »