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DVD Review

DVD cover

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels / Three Amigos


Starring: Steve Martin, Michael Caine, Glenne Headly, Chevy Chase and Martin Short
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: £9.99
Certificate: PG
Available 28 July 2008

A brash, small-time con man meets fake prince in exile in this comedy of backstabbing, elaborate lies, and dirty tricks as the two men battle for the prime fleecing territory of a European resort. A wager between the two over duping an American heiress out of her money sends the stakes higher, as the loser must leave town...

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) is a remake of the comedy Bedtime Story (1964) which starred David Niven and Marlon Brando. It was also turned into a Broadway musical with John Lithgow in the role of Lawrence (played by Michael Caine in this movie).

The basic plot sees Freddy (played by Steve Martin), a small-time con artist, trying to muscle in on the territory of big-time confidence trickster, Lawrence. As the town isn't big enough for the two of them, a bet is on - with the loser having to leave town.

The comedy coupling of Martin (playing Freddy) and Caine is perfect and the onscreen chemistry between them is great to watch. There's twists and turns a plenty as the two men try to get the upper hand - with Freddy resorting to pretending to be a wheelchair-bound soldier, while Lawrence pretends to be the one physician who can cure him. This is all for the benefit of the woman they are both trying to swindle $50,000 out of. Janet, the two believe, is the wealthy heiress of a large company and getting the money from her should be like taking candy from a baby.

Directed by Frank Oz (the voice of Star Wars's Yoda and many of the muppets) this movie also has another Star Wars connection, as Lawrence's Butler is played by Ian McDiarmid (who played the Emperor in the Star Wars franchise.)

The only extra included is the Original Theatrical Trailer. This is worth watching as it contains content not in the movie. Here Lawrence and Freddy undertake some dastardly deeds - pushing a young boy's candy floss into his face and shoving and old lady into the sea.

The biggest problem with this DVD is that the picture quality isn't that great and for some reason it's released as a very bad pan and scan edition.

This movie still stands up (pun intended) well today, 20 years after it was made. I've seen this film several times and never tire of it.



The Three Amigos are the swashbuckling stars of the silent screen in 1918 who find themselves broke and out of work. When they are offered what they think is a request for a personal appearance at a Mexican village, they soon realize the villagers expect them to be the heroes they portray and fight a band of desperados terrorizing the town...

Three Amigos (1986 ) is a comedy that never really worked for me. I've only seen this movie once before, and didn't think much to it the first time.

The biggest problem with this film is that there just isn't enough mileage to be had from it. This is really a five minute gag spun out over an hour and a half. You know that they're desperate for material when they start inserting songs for no good reason.

The movie starts off simple enough with a pretty straight forward plot. Three actors are fired as Hollywood's greatest assets (the Three Amigos) when they start making demands to the studio producer. This coincides with one of their movies being shown in a small Mexican village where the locals are having trouble with a nefarious outlaw. Cue the locals writing to Hollywood to ask for the Three Amigo's help.

When the telegram arrives in Hollywood, the Amigos think that it's a request for a personal appearance and head off to entertain the locals.

What starts off with a fairly simple premise soon descends into chaos as unfathomable script ideas are tacked on for no reason. What on earth the singing bush and invisible swordsman scene is all about is anyone's guess.

The end result is a disjointed, not very funny, comedy that slowly staggers towards a very painfully dull conclusion.

The only extra included is the US Theatrical Trailer.

As with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the picture quality isn't great. But at least this movie is released in widescreen.

I suppose, given the movie's title, that it's totally appropriate that I give this film a final mark of...



While Dirty Rotten Scoundrels should be in everyone's DVD collection, Three Amigos shouldn't. But at £10 for the two, you can always give Three Amigos away to someone you don't like very much.

Darren Rea

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