Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid Reviews

  • Jan 27, 2020

    A high brow concept filled with low brow humor. The plot leaves a bit to be desired but the cleverness and wit make it worth watching.

    A high brow concept filled with low brow humor. The plot leaves a bit to be desired but the cleverness and wit make it worth watching.

  • Jan 10, 2020

    I love early Steve Martin. This was a unique concept for a movie and I'm grateful it exists.

    I love early Steve Martin. This was a unique concept for a movie and I'm grateful it exists.

  • Sep 11, 2019

    The idea of Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid is better than the movie that came from that idea. It seems like it would be so easy, you just have a handful of actors creating a film noir in the modern day with a little comedic edge, and then you splice in clips of classic film noirs to work within your story. It was certainly cool to see so many amazing actors from the 30s and 40s, but it just didn’t work. I don’t know if they didn’t have rights to use a vast library of clips, or if no one was willing to do the homework to find better clips to link into a story, but almost every time they broke to the archive footage it felt like they were stopping the film just to shoehorn that in. There are episodes of Muppet Babies that did a better job of connecting old black-and-white film clips to the story being told. Because they keep awkwardly breaking into old films, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid has a lot of structural problems in its story-telling. Keeping track of anything feels like a fool’s errand, and trying to care about any of the characters is almost impossible. Even though I wish the movie was smarter and could break to an appropriate classic film moment in the climax, I was kind of glad they didn’t try because at least I was able to follow everything that happened. There are a handful of moments that are genuinely funny in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, but they were few and far between. Steve Martin and Rachel Ward do their best to sell this silly version of a film noir, but the writing wasn’t good enough to make the film a success. I’d love to see someone try this again with a more deft hand at research and editing.

    The idea of Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid is better than the movie that came from that idea. It seems like it would be so easy, you just have a handful of actors creating a film noir in the modern day with a little comedic edge, and then you splice in clips of classic film noirs to work within your story. It was certainly cool to see so many amazing actors from the 30s and 40s, but it just didn’t work. I don’t know if they didn’t have rights to use a vast library of clips, or if no one was willing to do the homework to find better clips to link into a story, but almost every time they broke to the archive footage it felt like they were stopping the film just to shoehorn that in. There are episodes of Muppet Babies that did a better job of connecting old black-and-white film clips to the story being told. Because they keep awkwardly breaking into old films, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid has a lot of structural problems in its story-telling. Keeping track of anything feels like a fool’s errand, and trying to care about any of the characters is almost impossible. Even though I wish the movie was smarter and could break to an appropriate classic film moment in the climax, I was kind of glad they didn’t try because at least I was able to follow everything that happened. There are a handful of moments that are genuinely funny in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, but they were few and far between. Steve Martin and Rachel Ward do their best to sell this silly version of a film noir, but the writing wasn’t good enough to make the film a success. I’d love to see someone try this again with a more deft hand at research and editing.

  • Mar 09, 2019

    Steve Martin is superb, the transitions to old clips are excellent, even Steves gun shot wounds are funny.

    Steve Martin is superb, the transitions to old clips are excellent, even Steves gun shot wounds are funny.

  • Dec 06, 2018

    Wow, I did not expect to enjoy this movie as much as I did. Though with Carl Reiner and Steve Martin together again, I guess I shouldn't be as surprised as I think I am. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid is a constantly funny love letter to the classic film noir genre and might be one of Martin's most overlooked films.

    Wow, I did not expect to enjoy this movie as much as I did. Though with Carl Reiner and Steve Martin together again, I guess I shouldn't be as surprised as I think I am. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid is a constantly funny love letter to the classic film noir genre and might be one of Martin's most overlooked films.

  • Jul 26, 2017

    One of my top fav films.. not only from the comedic standpoint.. but the re-creation of sets and the editing of old famous 30's-40's drama scenes and dialog into the script was a brilliant concept masterfully executed. ..

    One of my top fav films.. not only from the comedic standpoint.. but the re-creation of sets and the editing of old famous 30's-40's drama scenes and dialog into the script was a brilliant concept masterfully executed. ..

  • Dec 16, 2016

    Steve Martin is a living legend. An homage to the noir films. A pretty ridiculous comedy that cuts in clips from original noir films from back in the day. I forced myself to sit through it but I was totally disinterested with the stupid story. Skip it unless you really like those noir films it's referencing or are on a crazy Steve Martin kick.

    Steve Martin is a living legend. An homage to the noir films. A pretty ridiculous comedy that cuts in clips from original noir films from back in the day. I forced myself to sit through it but I was totally disinterested with the stupid story. Skip it unless you really like those noir films it's referencing or are on a crazy Steve Martin kick.

  • Aug 22, 2016

    It's ridiculous to see Steve Martin inserted into old films noir, playing against the likes of Alan Ladd, Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, and Barbara Stanwyck - and that's the point. However, there aren't as many belly laughs as one would hope (although the "cleaning woman" bit makes a good plot device). Martin is a private dick and Rachel Ward is his client/love interest. The plot was sewn together by finding suitable clips from a dozen movies (The Killers, Double Indemnity, Lost Weekend, Notorious, etc.) and then fitting a story in between. It mostly works - or as they say in the production notes, it isn't as confusing as The Big Sleep (which isn't saying much). Everyone plays it straight, except for a streak of goofiness throughout (of course). Carl Reiner directs and plays a small part, but this was clearly a labor of love for him. He also assembled some veterans of the noir era: the soundtrack is by Miklos Rozsa and the costumes are by Edith Head. Classy, except it's not.

    It's ridiculous to see Steve Martin inserted into old films noir, playing against the likes of Alan Ladd, Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, and Barbara Stanwyck - and that's the point. However, there aren't as many belly laughs as one would hope (although the "cleaning woman" bit makes a good plot device). Martin is a private dick and Rachel Ward is his client/love interest. The plot was sewn together by finding suitable clips from a dozen movies (The Killers, Double Indemnity, Lost Weekend, Notorious, etc.) and then fitting a story in between. It mostly works - or as they say in the production notes, it isn't as confusing as The Big Sleep (which isn't saying much). Everyone plays it straight, except for a streak of goofiness throughout (of course). Carl Reiner directs and plays a small part, but this was clearly a labor of love for him. He also assembled some veterans of the noir era: the soundtrack is by Miklos Rozsa and the costumes are by Edith Head. Classy, except it's not.

  • Jul 24, 2016

    Mildly entertaining novelty

    Mildly entertaining novelty

  • Mar 24, 2016

    Steve Martin and Carl Reiner reteam after "The Jerk" for this parody and loving homage to the film noirs of 40s and 50s, which throws Martin into old footage from classic movies and reworks them into a new story. It is good fun, and Martin is his usual best as the lead. If you enjoy old noir films, this is a fun comedy film, but I really think you have to have an appreciation of those old films to really get into this. I love oddball comedies like this.

    Steve Martin and Carl Reiner reteam after "The Jerk" for this parody and loving homage to the film noirs of 40s and 50s, which throws Martin into old footage from classic movies and reworks them into a new story. It is good fun, and Martin is his usual best as the lead. If you enjoy old noir films, this is a fun comedy film, but I really think you have to have an appreciation of those old films to really get into this. I love oddball comedies like this.