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He Said, She Said Review Site

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

What He said:

He

Harry Lockhart is a small time crook. The movie indicates that he only commits petty thievery; not that it’s a dismissible crime, I’m simply trying to explain he’s not the worst of the worst. He’s actually pretty likeable.
One evening, while “working”, he (Robert Downey Junior) and his partner set off the alarm in the toy story they are robbing. They flee the scene, but his partner is shot by some woman, who I think was the owner, but I wasn’t 100% clear on that. Harry continues on without his partner, but is being chased by the police, so he has to make a decision on the fly.

He runs into a building and bursts into the first room he sees, where he finds himself thrust into the middle of an audition for a movie. The people in the room assume he’s an actor, so they begin to read lines to him. Harry, not wanting to get caught, goes with it. They are impressed by his acting and is toted around Hollywood parties, being proclaimed to be the next great thing.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

At one of these parties he meets two people. First is Gay Perry, who is a private investigator. The other is Harmony Lane, who is an aspiring actress.

Gay Perry (Val Kilmer) is a private investigator who is serving as a creative consultant for the film.  He was hired by the producers to take Harry on a ride along and tell him a little bit about what it’s like to be a private investigator. If you are thinking that I am insensitive ass holes, I assure you that I am not. He’s called Gay Perry in the movie by one of the characters. It’s what he’s known as. It appears that he has found steady work from the same circles Harry has been brought into.

Harmony Lane is an aspiring, but not exactly successful, actress. I’m not sure how she got invited to this party, but she’s there because she’s trying to meet people in order to advance her career. For lack of a better word, she’s networking. She meets Harry at the party, but the two hit it off at a bar, where they meet again a little while after the party. It turns out that they actually known one another. They grew up together actually. Harry always had a crush on her, but she never felt the same. He was like a part time friend to her. They didn’t necessarily hang out a lot, but when they did she used him as a shoulder to cry on. He was one of the girls to her. They lost track of one another and never saw each other again until now.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

So Harry is out with Perry one night, trying to get a feel for the whole private investigator thing, when the two of them witness a crime. A car crashes into a creek and they dive in to rescue the person in the car. A couple of goons then start shooting at them and it’s clear this is no ordinary car accident. They manage to get away from their attackers and decide to part ways.

Things cool off for a little while, but not for too long. Harry  gets into some trouble, involving the crime they witnessed earlier in the movie and since Harry knows his way around things involving the seedy underworld of Los Angeles, he decides to give Perry a call. They start poking around for answers and it’s not long before people are trying to kill them. Perry urges Harry to skip town, but Harry can’t walk away from this case; despite the fact that he’s not actually a criminal investigator. Oh yeah, and he’s also agreed to take on a case at Harmony’s request. She hired him to do something involving her lost sister. So now Harmony is also in on the action.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

I’ve wanted to see this movie for a while now. I’ve heard that it was good, Robert Downey Jr. is in it (and he’s awesome), and it was written and directed by Shane Black (who is also kind of awesome).

This movie is loosely based on an old mystery novel. There’s actually a series of novels in the movie that Harmony loves that are, what I imagine to be, very similar to the novel this movie is based on. They are old-school crime noir stories with a dash of black comedy. That accurately sums up this movie as well. I can’t say I’ve read a lot of old mystery books or even seen similar types of movies, but you can totally understand and appreciate the tone and feel of them in the many modern movies that have paid homage to them. This is a modern noir comedy.

I personally dug it and I dug it a lot. Comedies don’t have to have great stories to be funny. Comedies can be completely off the wall, but if they are funny it doesn’t matter that the storyline is ridiculous. Anchorman and Step Brothers are good examples of that. These movies don’t have much in the way of a story, but they’re funny so you forgive then. But I’ll be damned if a comedy with a coherent and entertaining story isn’t extremely entertaining. There’s simply something appealing about a comedy that tries. The story is interesting. The world this takes place in is both seedy (great for a crime story) and entertaining. And while I wouldn’t call this an action movie, the action in the movie isn’t stupid. The movie doesn’t phone it in in this department. Every element of this movie that isn’t comedic offers elements that would be very viable in crime dramas or an action flick. Not only do I respect that, I appreciate it, especially when coupled with rapid fire and witty jokes. Movies like that have it all.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Robert Downey Jr. Val Kilmer, and Michelle Monaghan have fantastic chemistry. Robert Downey Jr.’s character is a criminal, but a total wuss. He’s not really cut out for the seedy underworld of LA. He’s a fish out of water, despite being a criminal himself. Val Kilmer is used to this environment, so they are an excellent odd couple. He also happens to be gay, which adds another element. I am 100% pro-gay rights, but there’s something about a gay guy who is a hilarious mix of tough guy and stereotypical flamboyant gay. He’s a tough guy, but can be very stereotypically gay when he lets his guard down. He has this small gun for example. It’s small enough to safely slip into your sock or somewhere else very small. It’s only good for a small amount of shots before you have to reload. It’s the kind of gun you keep stashed on you that the bad guys don’t know about and when they least expect it, you take that one shot that could save your life. He calls it his fag gun. This is hilarious to me. The banter between the two characters is quite funny, as is the banter and sexual tension between Michelle Monaghan and RDJ. These are three very talented actors doing their thing.

Shane Black is also a wonderful writer. He writes very witty stuff. He’s also not afraid to be outright goofy at times. I haven’t seen everything he’s done, but I like a lot of his work. I can’t describe it other than I like the way his movies make me feel. They are funny and make me smile. Even the more action centric stuff is sprinkled with some humor. I think he’s a very talented guy and I’m so happy he was put back on the map with Iron Man 3.
My only complaint about the movie is that the humor and dialogue can be so rapid fire that can miss stuff if you are not on your game. I was watching the movie by myself, so I would rewind stuff when I felt I needed to, but this doesn’t work if you are watching with friends and family.

This movie felt very similar to Innerspace or Get Short. Both are comedies, but smartly written ones that incorporate other genres.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on February 7, 2015.