Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang Reviews

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½ June 3, 2016
Well directed and sharply written, the self aware noir masterpiece is brought to life the perfect performance from the three leads, particularly Kilmer.
June 1, 2016
great movie except for Michelle Monaghan lol
½ May 28, 2016
A movie that jettisons a coherent plot and likeable realistic characters for a convoluted mystery, snarky "witty" lines that just don't fit in and propel the story backwards and an overall boring and unattractive style and look.
½ May 24, 2016
Excellent neo-noir parody. Unnecessary dark elements in third act.
½ May 23, 2016
Extremely entertaining, very funny, and action packed.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
May 21, 2016
Shane Black was a Hollywood icon by the time he was in his early 20s. In 1987 he sold a script called [i]Lethal Weapon[/i] to producer Joel Silver that put a jolt back into action flicks and gave the template for all buddy-cop comedies to come. He earned a then-record $1.7 million for his script, [i]The Last Boy Scout[/i], topped later by the $2 million paycheck he got for [i]The Long Kiss Goodnight[/i]. It's a shame both scripts were marginalized by their film directors. Black went underground for a long time, nursing his wounds over what had happened to his screenplays. Then in 2004, Black began his comeback vehicle, a modern day detective story that also lampooned Hollywood, and this time he'd direct his own material. The final product is called [i]Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang[/i], and Black's comeback film is nothing short of a cinematic knockout and the most refreshingly entertaining movie of all 2005.

Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) is a small-time crook on the run from the cops when he stumbles into an acting audition. They hand him a script, tell him his partner's dead, and are so impressed with his "acting" that he's immediately flown to Hollywood. Harry is teamed up with Gay Perry (Val Kilmer), a cop who does advisory work and just happens to be gay. During a house party, Harry reunites with a childhood friend, Harmony Faith Lane (Michelle Monaghan). They reminisce about their childhoods in Indiana and their fascination with the Johnny Gossamer detective novels, but she has much more on her mind: her sister's gone missing and she needs Harry to find her. Trouble is Harry hasn't told her he's not a real detective. He's gone from crook to pretend actor to pretend detective, and before Christmas is over he'll be up to his neck in bodies, intrigue, double-crosses and all the stuff that would make for a rip-roaring Johnny Gossamer book.

First and foremost, [i]Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang[/i] is one deliriously fun party. The film moves at breakneck speed through its smart, cheeky gags. Black's dialogue is hilarious and feels so effortlessly natural coming from Downey Jr. and Kilmer, like he's got their speech patterns tattooed in his brain. In fact, the dialogue feels so robust and natural, never glib and self-conscious, that it almost comes across as feeling like a heavy improv session between two immensely talented actors. [i]Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang[/i], Black's opus to the hard-boiled detective genre, has more twists and turns than a seizure patient doing the Hokey Pokey. You never know where this movie will head next or what joke will topple you over with unexpected laughter, and that's what makes [i]Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang[/i] so unabashedly thrilling to watch. Even when the movie does start to veer into more conventional material, Downey Jr. is there as our narrator to point out what we're all thinking and to make fun of the expected. [i]Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang[/i] can get jubilantly perverse at parts (a corpse getting a golden shower), but the macabre touches never deflect from the film's boundless, inconsumable energy. Everyone is having the time of their lives in Black's comic caper, and it shows.

Seriously, this movie is the definition of a laugh riot. It's like a carnival ride through a gag factory (that sounds kind of spooky, actually), and Black has such an assured confidence to his writing, evidenced in his set-ups, reversals, and the insightful tweaking of Hollywood that could only come from one of its own (Harry laments that the nation turned over and shook and all the normal girls hung on while the crazies landed in L.A.). Here's a conversation between Harmony and Harry about a promiscuous actress:

Harmony: Well, for starters, she's been f***ed more times than she's had a hot meal.
Harry: Yeah, I heard about that. It was neck-and-neck and then she skipped lunch.

Just re-reading it makes me laugh. How many comedies make you laugh just thinking about them in retrospect? [i]Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang[/i] is one of those oh so rare delights. [i]It even has a talking bear in it!

The lone detraction for [i]Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang[/i] is the movie's overall lack of substance. It doesn't reach for anything more than bold entertainment, and to that end it succeeds in spades. Some may argue the movie is spinning so fast to try and distract you from its empty center, but I say enjoy the ride while it lasts. I only wish this movie was longer, like Lord of the Rings-long. I did not want to leave this world and these characters. My claw marks might still be visible on the armrests where they had to throw me out.

]Black also proves to be a very slick director with a natural eye for camera placement. His photography is very pleasing, relying on different light placements to add surreal touches that accentuate the narrative. Black keeps his movie at a breathless pace and knows how to handle his actors. His narrative side-steps enliven the film and grab our attention, and Harry's voice over is never overused to explain the minutia the script cannot. The only drawback for Black might be that his film could be too smart for its own good. I mean, most of the movie going public will be stooped by a joke about adverbs. Black has an obvious love for detective yarns and film noir, that's evident with the film's style and the fact that chapter titles are Raymond Chandler novels, but some familiarity with this world will sharpen your experience. [i]Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang[/i] never panders to its audience, and that may hurt Black as far as making a movie that will reach out to Middle America (Perry apologizes to the Midwest for using the "f-bomb" as often as they do).

]The chemistry between Downey Jr. and Kilmer is incredible, positioning them as one of the finest comic pairings in recent cinema history. Their indelible camaraderie is the true heart of [i]Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang[/i]. They bat insults and injuries with comic aplomb. Both characters are unapologetic, Harry as a nattering criminal screw-up way in over his head, and Perry as gay man who's fine with that and will rip your testicles off just the same if you cross him. He's not stereotypically swishy or flamboyant, but he's very enjoyably dry and sarcastic. Both actors have a history of being troublesome to work with, but Downey Jr. and Kilmer have been two of our most amazingly talented actors ... when they want to be. Kilmer is the coolest customer in the film, being nonchalantly badass even when he's about to blow his top (this is NOT a gay joke, by the way). Downey Jr. is his usual charming, amiable, fast-talking self, but even his tiniest details speak comedic volumes, like his reactions and general awkward physicality. I cannot imagine anyone else doing as excellent a job in these roles, especially Harrison Ford who was sought by producers for the Gay Perry part (feel free to shudder at what might have been [i]Hollywood Homicide 2.

Monaghan is a break-out actress that could have been even more break-out-er by this time. She's mostly had small unmemorable roles in films like [i]Unfaithful[/i] and [i]The Bourne Supremacy[/i], but 2005 was set to be her year. She had important roles in [i]Constantine[/i], [i]Mr. and Mrs. Smith[/i], and [i]Syriana[/i]. Unfortunately, her scenes were cut from [i]Syriana[/i] and [i]Constantine[/i], and her role was drastically pared down in [i]Mr. and Mrs. Smith[/i]. The only thing Monaghan has to show for 2005 is [i]Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang[/i], and that's all she'll need. She's bright and pretty, but she also gives Harmony a great sense of being run down, another girl getting off the bus to Hollywood with stars in her eyes only to find out the harsh reality. Her combative relationship with Harry as they reconnect and try and wonder how they went astray is another film high point. She's a comedic asset and should be on Hollywood's speed dial if they need a charming, funny, beautiful actress (stop giving comedies to Nicole Kidman, haven't we learned our lesson yet?).

[i]Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang[/i] is a wicked good time. It's complex, twisting, riveting, unique, hilarious, and just about every synonym you can think for the word "awesome." Black's comeback may be too smart for its own good, and having a general understanding of film noir will enhance your experience, but this is one comic caper that's so much fun, so stylish, so damned entertaining, who cares if it lacks substance? [i]Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang[/i] is a refreshing blast of fresh air and should please anyone looking for a smart Hollywood film mixed with doses of their familiar sex and violence. But that's what makes [i]Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang[/i] so exhilarating, nothing about it could be classified as familiar. Seeing this flick is like being invited to the party of the year. Just make sure to head to your theater before your invitation gets lost in the mail.

Nate's Grade: A
May 20, 2016
Val kilmer is hilarious in this movie
½ May 19, 2016
Sometimes, there's no better way to describe a film than just "awesome:" Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of those films. It's smart, it's hilarious, and most of all, it's endlessly entertaining. Shane Black makes his directorial debut a nearly seamless one: working alongside a very self-aware and witty screenplay written by himself, Black directs this neo-noir tale with a slick sense of style that is absolutely admirable. Constant fourth wall breaks and hilarious voiceover narration fit this story seamlessly, and the script is full of rapid-fire, wicked black comedy that is sure to garner some laughs. Robert Downey, Jr., Val Kilmer, and Michelle Monaghan all deliver this sense of humor perfectly, and just add on to this film's hilarity. Each of their performances are some of the best, perhaps the best, of their respective filmographies: considering their talent, that's an impressive feat. Overall, a refreshing little film that tells an engaging story with a dark sense of humor to complement it.
May 17, 2016
It has potential but lost me at its muddled plot.
May 12, 2016
With a hilarious and entertaining performance from Robert Downey Jr, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a fast and fun ride but seems to be lacking the spark I've seen in other movies of a similar feel
May 2, 2016
I've never wished a movie would do a better job of living up to its potential than I did with this film. The first act of this movie has basically everything I would want in a film. They load it with action, mystery, and even a hilarious voice-over that breaks the fourth wall constantly. I was enjoying myself so much that I was starting to think that this might be one of the best movies I had seen in years. But there was a certain point, and I couldn't tell you exactly where it happened, but suddenly I was struggling with the film. The plot got convoluted, the actions of the protagonists became illogical, and the voice-over became very limited. I was no longer following the story or laughing! This was a huge problem, until it hit the third act and suddenly the loose ends started to tie up and the logical connections were re-established, and the voice-over returned. So if I could judge the entire film on the beginning and end I would be giddy, but that middle section needed some serious help. Unfortunately, this seems to be my struggle with most of Shane Black's scripts. He definitely has a writing style and sense of humor that I appreciate, and he creates the kind of stories I love, but there always seems to be some struggle with the plot along the way. I'd probably recommend Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and it might work better for me if I watch it again, but on my first viewing I found it just short of awesome.
April 27, 2016
Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer play brilliantly off of one another in this crime dramedy that's fun for everyone!
April 4, 2016
About as good as you can get with the "annoying narrator, blatant parody" genre.
½ March 30, 2016
one of the better comedies i have seen dark just the way i like it. one of rdj's best rolls watch if you have the time
½ February 10, 2016
Interesting. Velly Interesting. Just watched after seeing all the high ratings and good reviews. I'll be honest it was good but not as good to me as for others. Some laugh out loud moments, but I'm not sure I fully got the layers of story (or more importantly cared). The three main leads were good for sure. Very good. Very watchable. But the story just didn't gel for me. But maybe it will for you...
February 8, 2016
I was honestly a little confused. I should have paid more attention. Lots of funny jokes, and good action. Over the top action, yet it kept it realistic. Enjoyable, not sure I would watch it again.
Watched on DVD at home, January 29, 2016.
January 28, 2016
The writing in this movie is so sharp and slick that it would be easy to miss something. It's probably better on repeated viewings, but laugh out loud funny.
½ January 26, 2016
A very fun enjoyable film.

Bonus review: fast paced

Extra bonus review: John Madden
January 13, 2016
Not your ordinary buddy cop movie. Hysterical from beginning to end. Val Kilmer is an absolute delight.
½ January 13, 2016
Hilarious send-up to the crime mystery genre, thanks to two excellent lead performances by Downey & Kilmer, along with Shane Black's work behind camera, all who made comebacks with this film. Downey is hilarious as the charming imbecile Harry, it's easy to see why this role lead to him being cast as 'Iron Man'. He's paired great with Kilmer, whose 'Gay Perry' gets lots of mileage as a detective who just happens to be homosexual, yet still the most competent person in the film. MIchelle Monaghan also makes a great debut as the femme fatale of the film but with a fun twist. Behind the camera, Black crafts a hilarious story that mocks the crime genre while delivering plenty of twists to keep you guessing what happens next (Downey's narrative brings infinite laughs). All in all, one of the funniest films in the past decade, and since it takes place during Christmas (a hallmark of Shane Black films), makes for a fun Christmas movie.
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