In an almost shot for shot and line for line remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (that 1988 film starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine itself a remake of 1964’s Bedtime Story), Anne Hathaway takes on Caine’s role as Josephine, a sophisticated con artist who has made a successful living as a con artists in Beaumont-sur-Mer, a town on the French Riviera where she partners with a male servant and a local female police inspector.
Into this mix comes Rebel Wilson as Penny (taking over Steve Martin’s small time hustler Freddy Benson character), an obnoxious Australian backpacker and minor grifter.
This version of the tale felt rather 2 dimensional as if Hathaway & Wilson alone in a familiar tale would be enough to cause sparks to fly. Unfortunately there seems to be a distinct lack of oxygen in most scenes, and if it wasn’t for another audience member laughing repeatedly I wouldn’t have enjoyed the film at all. That said, Wilson riffing on Martin’s performance with some great ad-libs thrown in and Hathaway’s’ ridiculous German accent halfway through the film did offer some much needed laughs.
Having watched Dirty Rotten Scoundrels the night before and determined that it was a real time capsule of what life (and films) looked like in 1988, this felt like an unnecessary interpretation of the story. But then again I am a man.
3 Stars – “Just”