“I hadn’t seen a body put together like that since I’d solved the Case of the Murdered Girl with the Really Big Tits.”
Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid isn’t director Carl Reiner at his best; the same can be said for funnyman Steve Martin. However, it is Carl Reiner and Steve Martin; ergo, you will laugh and laugh heartily.
Smoldering beauty Juliet Forrest (Rachel Ward) puts gumshoe Rigby Reardon (Martin) on retainer to investigate the death of her father, a prominent scientist and cheesemaker. Juliet believes he was murdered, although his death was ruled an accident. Rigby’s flatfooting uncovers two lists, “Friends of Carlotta” and “Enemies of Carlotta,” and the people whose names appear on the Enemies list keep turning up dead.
At the time, a fairly novel and ingenuous approach, Reiner and Martin build the story around clips from seventeen noir classic, intercutting shots of Martin’s character with Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Kirk Douglas and a handful of other Hollywood legends.
The jokes and gags are classic spoofing, bits from a bygone era in comedy that still ring hilarious today because they are nothing but funny.