A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No positive messages, though you can argue that it teaches a lesson about the dangers of overconfidence.
Positive Role Models
Characters suffer no lasting consequences for their iffy behavior, which includes frequently manipulating and deceiving others. One character mines laughs out of pretending to be mentally challenged.
Violence & Scariness
A character pretending to be a doctor lashes another character who's pretending to be disabled several times in the legs and feet to see if he can "feel anything." Sailors threaten physical violence to one of the lead characters. A character feigns despair and mentions having had suicidal feelings/thoughts (all part of the pretense); he also fakes a wheelchair accident.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirting/romancing. One reference to "making love." A made-up sob story includes a tale of discovering a spouse cheating. A woman uses her attractiveness/the promise of an embrace to encourage a supposedly disabled man to stand and walk to her. A lead character is threatened with being put in a "genital cuff." A man tells of his clothes being stolen while he was in the shower, leaving him naked.
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Infrequent profanity includes "s--t," "a--hole," "ass."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink cocktails, wine, and champagne. Cigarette smoking. One of the lead characters is shown drunk in a hotel room with several drunk sailors and their female friends.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (a remake of 1964's Bedtime Story) is a 1988 comedy in which Steve Martin and Michael Caine play dueling con men competing to swindle an American heiress. During another con, Martin mines laughs out of pretending to be mentally challenged: soiling his pants at the dinner table rather than going to the bathroom, breaking objects during pretend temper tantrums, and running around yelling until he's threatened with a "genital cuff." Later, Martin's character pretends to be physically disabled and fakes an accident as he pretends to roll out of control down a set of rocky outdoor steps. There's some drinking -- Martin's character gets drunk with a group of sailors and their girlfriends -- and some cigarette smoking. Viewers hear a reference to "making love" and talk of how Martin's character found his "wife" in bed with another man. Infrequent profanity includes "s--t," "a--hole," and "ass." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This sly film is fairly entertaining, but Martin and Caine never establish the chemistry of a great comedy team, and the gags tend to get repetitive. If the film has anything going for it, it's the unpredictability of the game of courtship between two men and one woman.
The difference between European cultural pretension and American crassness is at the center of the comedy. The film is a role reversal of sorts, with men fleecing women who've presumably come upon their fortunes by marrying doddering millionaires. It's enjoyable to watch Caine pretend to be a psychologist, and Martin is as animated as ever, faking paralysis only to dance for joy in the following scene. The story turns into a standard wager plot, with the real winner discovering his scruples just in time to save his soul. Needless to say, the swindlers get their comeuppance, the scammers become the scammed, and the story ends with yet another hoax in the offing.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.