I’ve heard good things about Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, and let’s face it: what woman isn’t at least a little in love with Robert Downey Jr? So, Mek and I decided to try it out.
I must say, it’s pretty fucking funny.
1.) None of the characters are particularly nice. Most of them make bad, selfish, and generally stupid choices throughout the film, and yet, somehow, they’re all still relatively likable. Harry (Robert Downey Jr.) and Harmony (Michelle Monaghan) continuously fuck each other over, yet they continue to keep flirting around each other, and you still actually want them to get together. It’s bizarre, but it works.
2.) Maybe I should tell you the plot? Nah, I’m way too lazy to do that. Let me just give you imdb’s relatively minimalistic summary: “A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor.” There’s much more to it than that, of course, but that’s the barebones of the story.
More importantly, though, the whole movie is just the sort of funny, meta script that I go nuts for, if it’s done right. Meta’s kind of tricky to pull. You go too far with it, and it feels self-indulgent and/or bizarre. Here, I think it works, if only because Robert Downey Jr. was just sort of born for this type of voiceover narration. Plus, it’s really funny. Meta tends to work best with humor, I think.
3.) So, I was born in ’85, which means that when I think of Val Kilmer, I inevitably think first of Batman Forever.
I know he was in some awesome 80’s comedies, but I’ve never seen those comedies, and while I liked him in Willow, it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen it. Therefore, when I think of Val Kilmer, I go to black rubber, hands on hips, and sage words such as these: “The Bat Signal is not a beeper.” And then, if I have to think further, I imagine his bleach blond head and serious face in Top Gun (“I don’t like you because you’re dangerous”) or the awesomely awful Mindhunters . . . unintentional comedy, is what I’m driving at. You see, I don’t necessarily think of Val Kilmer as being a comedic actor, you know, on purpose.
But Kilmer is funny as hell as Gay Perry, and I like the energy he and Robert Downey Jr. have together. I was pleasantly surprised by his performance, and being pleasantly surprised by an actor you don’t think much of is always kind of a neat experience.
4.) I can’t go into details without spoiling my lovely readers, but I did enjoy the very quick bursts of violent comedy in this film. They kind of startled me into laughing, like “WTF? I can’t believe they did that. That’s so awesome.”
5.) Most of the time, Harry’s just this average-ish, funny guy who’s been thrown into all of this insanity, and most of the time he reacts the way you might expect from a comical hero . . . but there’s this one scene where he has this great, little moment of, I don’t know, coldness, I guess? It’s a touch darker than anything else in the film, and I like it a lot. Kudos to Robert Downey Jr. My God, that man just has charisma dripping from his very eyebrows.
6.) Mr. Frying Pan and Mr. Fire? Love.
7.) Finally, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie where the main character’s intelligence is questioned quite so often. Perry must call Harry an idiot at least eight times. Possibly my favorite example of this?
Harry: Do you think I’m stupid?
Perry: I don’t think you’d know where to put food at, if you didn’t flap your mouth so much. Yes, I think you’re stupid.
I’m not entirely sure, but I think this is the kind of movie that I’ll enjoy more and more with each and every subsequent viewing. (Some movies are really like that for me. The Royal Tenenbaums is probably the best example.) So, tentative grade at the moment is a B+, but I think it’ll bump up to an A- in time.
Moral: Stay the fuck away from LA.