Flicky Friday (ft. Steve Martin)

For today's Flicky Friday, I'm bringing you my very favorite scene from one of my very favorite comedies of all time, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  This film, a 1988 remake of a (much less famous) Marlon Brando/David Niven movie called Bedtime Story, stars Michael Caine and Steve Martin (both of whom I would marry in a heartbeat), and was directed by Frank Oz (most famous for his voice-acting work as Miss Piggy and Yoda. Yes, that Yoda.)  It's some of Steven Martin's absolutely finest comedic work, and a near-perfect showcase for Martin's prowess at physical comedy. (As a note, my well-meaning fiance took me to see the musical stage version of DRS a few years ago, thinking it'd be akin to The Producers screen-to-stage success; it was not.  It was god-awful. So, avoid that.)

In the movie, Caine and Martin are con men who scam gullible, lonely, rich women out of their money. Describing a montage where the refined, urbane Caine teaches the bumbling, unsophisticated Martin the ropes of roping in millionairesses, one reviewer described Martin thusly:
"Martin, the most eloquent of physical clowns -- the Baryshnikov of comedy -- is at his most inspired here. He parodies feelings, attitudes, states of mind that one would think were exempt from it, and his caricature of dapper suavity is killingly precise. When he pours champagne, even the angle of his wrists is a scream."
Martin is sincerely brilliant in this movie; his extreme silliness and pratfalls are so much subtler and more likable than those of his oft-compared counterpart in physical comedy, Jim Carrey.  Maybe Martin's comedy seems more purposeful, more motivated, less random?  Maybe Martin is just more charming?  Maybe the '80s were just better at everything.  Either way, if you haven't seen Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, or haven't seen it in a while, please revisit it soon.

A little set up for this scene: When Caine can't get rid of one particularly tenacious millionaire, he employs Martin to pretend to be his brother.  How could having a brother run off a vulnerable, love-struck, Oklahoma woman, you ask? Here's how:

Note: the actual scene is a considerable bit longer than that, but I couldn't find an extended clip. I guess you'll just have to watch the whole movie.  Not sold? Let a little more Ruprecht convince you:

Okay, it's like I can't stop. Ever forget someone's name?

Also, if you weren't already convinced that Steve Martin is one of the most talented comedians in history, let me add a few additional talents to his repertoire.  In recent years, Martin has found new and repeated success as a playwright and author.  If you're so inclined/obsessed, check out Martin's play Picasso at the Lapin Agile, or some of his novels (he starred in the movie version of his novel Shopgirl with Claire Danes).  Oh and he plays the banjo. And saves lives, I'm sure. And is a boat captain on weekends.  While he whittles cabinetry. For rescue cats. With diabetes. (I love you, Steve.)
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Write comments
August 26, 2011 at 10:31 AM delete

comedy at it's best, i worked at a local theater as an usher... it played for weeks... we laughed.

thanks for the solid!


October 14, 2011 at 9:15 AM delete

Nice One



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