Title: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Year of Release: 2005
MPAA Rating: R
Date Viewed: May 11th, 2010
Our Robert Downey Jr fest wasn't quite over yet. Shortly after finishing Iron Man, a new friend walked into the room and asked if any of us had seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang yet. My first reaction was "...if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that, I'd have about sixty dollars."
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (boy is it fun to type that) was the kind of film that didn't seem to pull in much box office revenue but became a popular hit on video. The reason I think is because it has two traits that today's audiences appreciate. It is hip and self-aware.
Downey Jr plays a lowlife thief character named Harry Lockhart who suddenly finds himself in one ridiculous situation after another, starting with running into a Hollywood audition for a crime drama as a way of escaping the police. After somehow impressing the producers with his desperate performance, he spends time tagging along with a real detective Gay Perry (Val Kilmer) who is in fact, actually gay. Prepare for many jokes that like to point that out.
From that point on, the plot grows increasingly complex as Harry and Gay stumble upon murders, deception and double-crosses that will leave your head spinning, yet you'll still find yourself having a good time. It's kind of like getting drunk at a party, but don't do it during this film because you'll need to pay attention to some details.
The plot of tagging along with a detective is appropriate because the film is actually a subtle parody of the film noir genre. It's not an in-your-face spoof like a David Zucker film. It plays more like a tribute to the genre that prides itself on its cliches instead of pointing out how silly they are. The film is written and directed by Shane Black who has previously spoofed the action genre with 1993's Last Action Hero. Expect the same level of fun here but without anything being spelled out to you.
Fun is the word best described for this film noir tribute/parody. Harry Lockhart's narration is inconsistent and often obnoxious....and that's a good thing for a non-serious film such as this. On the negative side, the film is often too fast-paced for its own good and can get a bit crazy to follow in the second half. However, the amount of wit and creativity put into this project makes up for its shortcomings. It easily has enough entertainment value for a recommendation.