We are kicking off the second round of our Movies of 1988 bracket game with two sublimely silly comedies about con men and criminals who are constantly trying to get one over on each other. Both A Fish Called Wanda and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels feature dim Americans pitted against sophisticated Europeans and the culture clash that results generates a lot of laughs. As does the ridiculous physical comedy. While both movies are smart, neither shies away from low-brow humor. As we keep saying, 1988 was a great year for comedy. But there’s only room for one intercontinental caper comedy in the final four. Which one will it be?
What do Dangerous Liaisons and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels have in common beyond being released three decades ago? More than you might think. Both movies are set in France. They were both adaptations (Liaisons is based on the novel Les Liaisons dangereuses and Scoundrels is a remake of Bedtime Stories). And both movies center on characters who lie to each other. There was also a real life dangerous liaison which crossed over to the cast of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, but I will get to that after the jump.
Irish actor Cillian Murphy, who celebrates his 41st today, made his debut with the Corcadorca Theatre Company in Cork, Ireland, his hometown. He began appearing in independent Irish and English films in the late nineties and first became well known for his role in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later. In 2005 he had his first major Hollywood roles, in Wes Craven’s Red Eye, and as the Scarecrow in Batman Begins. But he continued to work in English and Irish cinema as well, starring a year later in Ken Loach’s drama of the Irish troubles, The Wind That Shakes the Barley.