I’m not sure when it was announced-apparently it’s been out there for some time now-that MGM is going ahead with their Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson to star, proving that this trend, like Disney Live Action remakes and cinematic universes, is only going to grow more prevalent. The trend that I’m speaking of is, of course, gender reversed remakes, which started, at least in my memory, with last year’s woeful Ghostbusters reboot starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon. That film didn’t make me want more movies in that vein. It just seemed so hopelessly unnecessary. Now they’re remaking Ocean’s 11 with an all-female cast, Splash with Channing Tatum as the mermaid/merman, Overboard with a woman tricking an amnesic man, and finally, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
I’m basically alright with Ocean’s 11 being redone. It’s never been a great movie, and it’s a premise apt for innumerable reinterpretations. This time out, it’s called Ocean’s 8? which doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but Anne Hathaway, Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and Ri-Ri are set to star. Good Luck.
Splash and Overboard getting remakes confounds me. These are films that honestly got lucky the first time. If it wasn’t Tom Hanks, if it wasn’t Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, those are really stupid movies. Remember at the end of Splash how Tom Hanks realizes if he wants to be with the woman-like creature that he loves, he has to make a sacrifice, and join her in the water forever. What? That was insane. That was back in the Turner and Hooch, The Man with One Red Shoe days for Tom Hanks, and only he could make those passable. Who asked for remakes for these movies? I think they are going to run into the same problem that Ghostbuster dealt with in that they’re remaking a movie wholly of its time; its time being the ’80s. Channing Tatum and Jillian Bell will star in the Splash remake, and Anna Faris and Eugenio Derbez Overboard. Good luck.
Now back to the catalyst for me thinking about all these “reimaginings.” Nasty Women. That’s what they’re calling their remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I love Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and this is the remake I most despair of, and I do realize that the 1988 classic starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine was itself a remake. First of all, Nasty Women is a horrible title. It makes me think this is going to be a raunchy, girls-can-be-bad too movie, which it very well might be. Why do that to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels? Bridesmaids did that wonderfully and with some originality. I mainly don’t like the cast for this material. There are so many different combinations that would have been more exciting to me. How about Melissa McCarthy with Hugh Grant trying to scam an older gentleman that could have been played by Michael Caine? How about Denzel Washington doing his first comedy teamed with Kevin Hart? Rebel Wilson might be good in the clownish Ruprecht role, but it’s the shoes that Michael Caine once occupied that to me are the hardest to fill. He was essentially the straight man, but he had to be charming, light, witty, smooth, all while making it seem effortless. I’ve never seen Anne Hathaway show that side. Much respect if she pulls it off, and I’ll watch to give her a chance, but that role is not as easy as the Cary Grants, the Michael Caines, and the Hugh Grants make it look. Plenty of great dramatic actors have tried and failed in light romance, like Russell Crowe in A Good Year (2006). I don’t know that Denzel could pull it off, but I’m curious to see him do a comedy at some point.
I think ultimately there has been no evidence that remakes of this nature can work. I’m talking also of “black versions” of movies. Remember Who’s Your Caddy? (Black Caddyshack) Original movies are the way. Make original movies and then have white men struggling to remake them.