3 1/2 out of 5 stars. A must for any noir or classic movie fan and despite my general belief that Steve Martin is an overrated hack, he was great in this. The narration is great and the comic timing in this was superb.
When I was young, a friend and I shot scenes of ourselves and edited them into my favourite movies. It makes sense to want to be that close to the things you love - but like our juvenile effort, this pastiche doesn't contextualise its source material in new light. Rather than embedding itself into the plots of classic noir, it resurrects for modest impact in its own aimless tale. Twistier script would have helped
The scenes from different noirs are weaved so seamlessly into the narrative, that it doesn't feel like a gimmick at all. Must have required an immense amount of time to find the right clips. Oh, and this is the only movie where Steve Martin calls Barbara Stanwyck a fruit cake. Otherwise not as funny as I expected, unfortunately, but a must-see for all fans of film noir.
Although extremely clever and splendidly directed when using inserts of old noirs, they don't necessarily make for great comedy. When Carl Reiner decides to actually do his own bits, he comes up with a strangely up and down film both in terms of tone and laughs. Some jokes (the coffee one especially) are fantastic, and Steve Martin's expressions and mannerisms are always funny. But the violence? Not so much. Uneven.