Not to be mixed up with Tough Guys, released just one year earlier, the cryptically named Tough Guys Don’t Dance makes an attempt to create a neo-noir thriller movie in the vein of old noir classics, but ends up mostly known for its ”Oh God! Oh Man! Oh God! Oh Man!” scene that has since become a modern meme classic.
I see good aspects here as well; I like old film noir thrillers with femme fatales, caricature-like baddies, chilly and rainy coastal settings like in Key Largo. I even like to an extend a film having style over substance, if the atmosphere is good enough to suck me in. In this sense Tough Guys Don’t Dance gets quite close. If the directing was any better and the plot didn’t feel as convoluted with tons of people coming and going without proper introductions, this could have been an ok take on the subject.
But, unfortunately Norman Mailer – who also wrote the original novel – decided to direct this thing on his own, and similarly to the Stephen King’s own film work, the skill of weaving a movie to a comprehensive package was really not one of Mailer’s strong suits.