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Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Review written on: December 5th, 2005

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang Review

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Does it sound like a cynical sum-up of Hollywood and all it stands for? Well that’s just what it is, and it’s no accident.

Larry (Robert Downey Jr.) is a petty crook who ends up in Hollywood due to dumb luck and an unlikely audition. Soon he meets Perry (Val Kilmer) and is almost immediately knee deep in Tinsel-town drama; wrapped up in a murder mystery, with guns trained on him, and all the while trying to win the heart of his coincidentally-placed high school sweetheart. Kiss kiss, bang bang.

The movie’s moral seems to settle on how wild and dysfunctional Hollywood is, all the while providing laughs and not disconnecting itself from Joe Movie-goer. But before you take your teenage offspring to see this movie, read on. This is not a family movie. The humor is consistently dark, but not exclusively, and while funny is not family material. For me, the movie walked an almost flawless comedic line of sharp narration and a swift plot. It helps that the film is narrated by Robert Downey Jr., who plays the main character as well. He does both quite brilliantly in my view, creating a personality that you root for but are not bored with. I see this as no small feat, as many heroic characters are difficult to relate to as a person.

Val Kilmer’s character shares the authenticity of Downey’s, but in a different and less pitiful way. A gay, and seemingly quite successful Private Investigator, Kilmer’s role is both important and hilarious. His chemistry (no pun intended) with Downey is impeccable, making every conversation the two have fun to watch.

I have no choice but to compare this film with one of my favorites, Get Shorty. Larry is a lower class and much less suave version of Chili Palmer, much less successful in almost every way, but equally fun to follow. The characters are more eccentric, and the plot a little more complicated, but it remains tasteful and intriguing. It veers away from the Get Shorty style briefly, near the end of the film as Larry steps quickly into the role of unlikely hero in the film’s climactic firefight. It is a rare lapse in consistency of what is a truly excellent film.

Simply put, it is impossible to describe this movie with the style and wittiness that it produces in the theater. It has been a long time since I have enjoyed a movie as much as this one. And truthfully I would have enjoyed it even more had I not been sitting next to the human sitcom laugh-track. In this pest’s defense, laughs came early and often and didn?t stop until the credits.

As always, I cannot tell you whether or not you will enjoy the movie. In this case, I can assure you more respect for Val Kilmer and your left ring finger.

 

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