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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

by on 2011/12/22

“Okay, you’ve got 30 of my f*cking seconds. Thrill me.”

* * * *

Sometimes I see a movie so clever, it makes me a little nervous. And by nervous I mean freeze up utterly, unable to paw a coherent sentence out of my cheap plastic keyboard.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is that kind of film. This film noir-buddy flick-romance-thriller-comedy-mystery contains medically-unsafe levels of wit. The snap-crackle dialogue is clearly designed to cause critical paralysis. To make matters worse, it has Robert Downey, Jr. and Val Kilmer being unspeakably charming.

The best I can manage at the moment is: “Film good – gooood. Goooood.”

This another in a series of films that Hacker Renders told me to see, then wrote a compelling review about its excellence. I didn’t listen. I was too busy doing something revenue-generating.

I tuned in distractedly during one of his first screenings of this film. My eyes were immediately greeted by a severed finger laying in a door jam. Then there was a lady running around in a skimpy Santa suit.

I tuned out once more.

This was my loss. My Christmas-y loss.

We saw it again during our Unconventional Christmas marathon this month. If I could formulate a rational argument at the moment, I would strongly suggest you snap up a copy of this under-rated movie out of the discount DVD bins it so frequently lines.

Er, watch it, watch it now!

Damn, I wish I were more eloquent. Snappy, involving, charming –  like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

This film is filled with meta-level dialogue, Hollywood insider speak. But it isn’t irritating at all, because it is spoken by the likes of Downey (A Scanner Darkly) and Kilmer (Tombstone).

  • Don’t worry, I saw Lord of the Rings. I’m not going to end this 17 times.
  • Thanks for coming, please stay for the end credits, if you’re wondering who the best boy is, it’s somebody’s nephew, um, don’t forget to validate your parking, and to all you good people in the Midwest, sorry we said f*ck so much.
  • Have you solved the case of the – the dead people in L.A.? Times Square audiences, please don’t shout at the screen, and stop picking at that, it’ll just get worse.

Funny, self-aware stuff that somehow doesn’t manage to sneer at its audience.

There were other things I liked. As Hacker Renders said more eloquently during the screening, I like that Kilmer’s character, the gumshoe Gay Perry was the competent, tough-minded hero of the piece. He was the one, cool, caring and ruthlessly efficient, who consistently saved Downey’s character, a shambling, disoriented petty criminal.

Harmony (Michelle Monaghan) was no Hollywood cookie-cutter stereotype either. Despite being crammed into Playboy Mansion Santa lingerie, she was no one’s one-dimensional bimbo. Monaghan was smart, funny and complex.

Everyone’s refreshingly multifaceted, flawed and deeply entertaining. Even the thugs. Even the throwaway character in the mental asylum who says, “I don’t like him –  Kurt Cobain. He stole my cricket.”

With the script written by Shane Black based on the novel by Brett Halliday, everyone in the world of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is at the ready to say something amusing, profound and surreal.

Which is all to say that Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is good. Gooood.

* * * *

103 minutes

Rated R for lots of f-words, use of the c-word, severed fingers, pistol whipping, topless reindeer …basically don’t round up the kiddies and screen this in a double-bill with A Charlie Brown Christmas 

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