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Overall Rating
4.02

Awesome: 33.33%
Worth A Look45.45%
Average: 15.15%
Pretty Bad: 1.52%
Total Crap: 4.55%

7 reviews, 24 user ratings


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Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
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by Scott Weinberg

"Tough to mock a movie that does such a good job of mocking itself."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2005 TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL: Looking for a comedy - action - mystery - buddy flick with a pair of old-pal character actors, a resoundingly self-referential tone, a slick visual style, and a solid handful of sly chuckles? Well then here's one you might enjoy...

A warm welcome back to the movie world is due to Mr. Shane Black, the guy-movie-centric screenwriter who exploded his way into our hearts via screenplays for Lethal Weapon, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Monster Squad, and The Last Boy Scout. After over six years away from the movie machine, Mr. Black surges back with his directorial debut, the colorfully self-referential coloring-book noir that is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Perhaps best described as a modernized frat-boy version of Chinatown, KKBB is about a low-rent petty thief who (literally) stumbles into the world of acting. Entirely new to L.A. and all but bursting with cocky disdain for the place, Harry is forced to work alongside "Gay Perry" Van Shrike, a former detective now working as a movie-set consultant. And with Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang being the self-aware and vibrantly cockeyed pulp-candy that it is, it should come as no surprise to learn that Harry and Gay Perry come across a few dead bodies, several untrustworthy nemeses, and more convoluted plot twists than you can shake a clapboard at.

OK, so it's not high art, nor is KKBB even close to the pinnacle of originality, but it is a jocular good time nonetheless. Mr. Downey adopts the eye-rolling sarcasm machine that we remember with much fondness, Kilmer seems to be having a whole lot of fun as a tough-guy ex-gumshoe -- who just happens to be gay as well.

Using the novel by Brett Halliday as a jumping off point, writer/director Shane Black digs deep into his bag of cinematic gimmicks and comes up with a few doozies. Downey's character seems well aware that he's being partially employed as narrator for a Hollywood movie, and this twisty little gag yields a solid handful of film-geek chuckles; it's the self-aware satire that makes the frequent doses of voice-over not only acceptable, but quite deliciously amusing.

Toss in an eclectic supporting cast that includes that criminally cute Michelle Monaghan, the consistently loopy Larry Miller, direct-to-video king Corbin Bernsen, and the sexy Shannyn Sossamon as the requisite femme fatale -- and you're looking at one good time for the movie geeks, period.

More of an offbeat whodunnit procedural than the sort of high-octane action flick that Mr. Black made his name on, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" is an amiable (albeit violent) little time-waster -- but I suspect it's a movie that the noir-philes will enjoy more than general moviegoers will. If you happen to fit that description, or you're just a longtime fan of Downey & Kilmer, you could do a hell of a lot worse with your weekly box office allowance.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12833&reviewer=128
originally posted: 09/10/05 13:28:52
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Vancouver Film Festival For more in the 2005 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 FilmFest Kansas City For more in the 2005 FilmFest Kansas City series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Austin Film Festival For more in the 2005 Austin Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/14/14 MatthewThompsonDalldorf Clever and intense with some good laughs 4 stars
6/12/08 PAUL SHORTT VULGAR, NOISY, POINTLESS AND STUPID 1 stars
4/07/08 Jack Sommersby Overly self-conscious filled with uninteresting story and characters. 2 stars
3/24/08 ladavies It felt like the narration was pasted on at the last minute, but otherwise entertaining 3 stars
3/05/08 mr.mike Worth seeing but a bit too cutesy at times. 4 stars
5/17/07 ES couple of laughs, no hell 3 stars
3/30/07 fools♫gold Funny, finally funny, exceptionally funny, keeps you laughing, and short. 4 stars
3/26/07 Donny M Too good to put into words. 5 stars
1/03/07 Tom Very, very funny. The self referencial humour was clever! 5 stars
11/06/06 AJ Muller Cast is brilliant, script is stellar, Black/Downey/Kilmer/Monaghan absolutely ROCK! 5 stars
9/22/06 Alyssa Hale I hated it, couldn't watch more than 10 minutes of it. 1 stars
8/04/06 Indrid Cold Plays with Raymond Chandler plot and dialogue cliches to great effect. Quite entertaining. 4 stars
6/20/06 JH Great movie. Black humor, plot twists and chemistry. 5 stars
6/15/06 Agent Sands Kilmer & Downey are two of the most charming actors in cinema. 5 stars
6/15/06 Tom Kilmer and Downey were good together over narration worked and fixation on grammar was fun 4 stars
4/29/06 MP Bartley Brilliantly funny script never descends into smugness. Kilmer and Downey Jr are priceless. 5 stars
4/22/06 Aldo had its funny moments...but story could of been layed out better 3 stars
1/19/06 Don Paco Wickedly funny. Downey jr. is great! Bit too wacky at the end, but still a whole lot of fun 5 stars
11/18/05 Robert Braunfeld Lethal Weapon revisited Chemistry not there 3 stars
11/16/05 Erik Van Sant Absolutely the most entertaining and original film I've seen in years. 5 stars
11/05/05 JACK HORSEMELANCHOLIC@YAHOO.COM 1 stars
11/04/05 Megan great movie 5 stars
11/03/05 Stephen P F*cking hilarious - just brilliant! 5 stars
10/12/05 Josh Swanson Funny flick, enjoyed it thoroughly. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Oct-2005 (R)
  DVD: 13-Jun-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  10-Nov-2005




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