Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Movie Review: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

When Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (originally released in 2005 in a limited run) first came out I watched the movie trailer on Apple.com and thought the movie looked like it could be funny so I wanted to see it. But you know how things go, you want to get to the movie theater but then a million things come up and the next thing you know it's three months later and you're waiting for it to come out on DVD to rent. Well this was before Netflix came into my life; so when I did sign up I made sure to put that movie on there.

Last Tuesday I was very excited when it arrived in my mailbox and the whole week I begged my husband to watch it. But like before, things came up and we pushed it off until Sunday when I told him he had no choice, he had to watch it. First thing out of his mouth was, "is this gonna be another one of your weird movies that I've never heard of?" (I tend to read a lot of descriptions of random movies and add those or other things Netflix thinks I'll like, what can I say, I really like movies). Luckily for him though, part buddy movie, part romance, part mystery, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has something that will make everyone happy. And much to Nick's surprise, he was laughing hysterically and trying to solve the mystery right along with the characters.

New Yorker Harold (Robert Downey Jr.) is a small time crook who evades the police by auditioning for a movie part and is whisked away to L.A. where he stumbles across a dead body during detective training. Pretty soon after that, the dead body and high school sweetheart turned wannabe actress, Harmony (Michelle Monaghan), wind up in Harold's hotel room and the chase is on. Harold teams with his agent Perry (Val Kilmer, who really steals the show with his dry wit and gay humor) and Harmony to solve the mystery of the dead body and Harmony's newly deceased sister all the while tying in the story of Harmony's childhood hero from a series of detective novels.

Harold self narrates the movie which, like his own scatterbrained conversations in real life, is sometimes all over the place. But instead of being annoying it's used as a comedic device to poke fun at Harold, detective noir, and Hollywood in general. There's a particularly funny scene at the end about bringing famous people back from the dead. It's a blink and you'll miss it moment, so pay attention, but it had us crying from laughing so hard. The main mystery itself was somewhat easily solve-able and I think the writers might have done that on purpose, although the details kept us guessing. I think the point was not to have an impossible mystery to solve, but to keep us laughing while we all solved it together.

I can't really say that the movie overall had any kind of a message, like friends are everything or love conquers all. And the movie of course pokes fun at that too, but this isn't a spoof. It's an intelligent way to look at the mystery genre while making us laugh in the process. I'm going to give it a 5 out of 5 stars.

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