There are 4 types of movies around in the world today. Movies you immediately love and will always love. Movies you once loved, but with subsequent viewings have grown distasteful. Movies you immediately hate and will always hate. And finally movies that grow on you every time you watch them. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is categorized squarely within the latter, and is a truly unique and spectacularly hilarious film. The first time I saw this movie, which is directed by Shane Black who helmed the lethal weapon movies, I was impressed and satisfied but not albeit blown away, so to speak. T he next time I viewed it, I caught more of the jokes, and already knowing the plot, I was able to pay closer attention to the performances and technical aspects. The last time I viewed KKBB, I loved it, and it subsequently found its way into my top 100 films.
The film features an odd narrative style, in that the narrator, Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) is aware he is narrating, and it seems to me, aware it is a film you are watching. Impossible in the context, but it works nonetheless. Because our voice from above is aware of his narration he makes quips and observations, apologizes for swearing, and then swears for forgetting to tell us something important about the story. I'm pretty sure it is impossible for Downey Jr. to give an uninteresting performance, and he is pitch-perfect here. Every joke hits home and by the end you'll be trying to remember them all so you can make yourself laugh again later. But be warned, the humor is a times dark, many hilarious sequences resulting from deaths, injuries and dismemberments. Despite being squarely in the realm of comedy there is a fantastic murder mystery and action pic mixed together. All three areas mesh seamlessly, and is one of the reasons why it is such a unique pleasure to behold.
We first meet up with Harry Lockhart while in the process of robbing a toy store with his partner. When the job goes bad and he is forced to flee, he winds up tossed up with a case of mistaken identity and is jetted off to Hollywood to become an actor in a detective movie. Upon arriving he meets his tutor, a real private-eye named "Gay Perry." (Val Kilmer) And as he says, he's not gay "Oh no I'm knee deep in p***y; I just liked the name so much though I'd keep it." Before Harry can say the title of the movie he's starring Harry is thrown into a real murder mystery, involving the sister of his high school sweetheart Harmony played by Michelle Monaghan. Together the mismatched trio try to untangle the web of intrigue that unfolds before them; part buddy movie and part noir, Kilmer and Downey Jr. play off each other brilliantly; both (especially Downey Jr.) giving award worthy performances.
Very minor hiccups arise relating to some confusing plot elements, but as I said they can be quickly remedied with a repeat viewing, and some overly clever jokes briefly mar any complete perfection. But with all round superb acting, the cast pulls it off flawlessly despite. Yes, KKBB is essentially perfect, but destined to be an overlooked gem, crowded out by 2005's less then perfect blockbusters, such as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and the Chronicles of Narnia. So seek out this instant classic, With such originally busting from every orifice and boasting a stellar cast and top-notch writing, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is one you can't help but love.