Even Michael Caine's unique take on leading man suave can't save this dull, lifeless comic mystery. Almost never funny or suspenseful - even though it tries desperately to be both. The characters and gags are forced and annoying. Director Mike Hodges' loose, unfocused style just doesn't mesh with a story that's trying to be sharp. A major disappointment.
Pulp understands its source, classic noir, as it takes satirical jabs at the conventions of the genre. On this level, you understand the film, but the plot is so poorly-communicated and loose that one has to fight the film to see any joy in it, instead of going with it. A shame, because the heart is in the right place.