Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

A Three-Dollar Review

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of those movies with so many levels of irony built into it that you can't even begin to really fathom where the edge of believability ends and deliberate cynicism begins. The trick is this: Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) is narrating this story about himself and his partner, Perry, the gay detective (Val Kilmer). But he's not narrating it in the traditional sense, his character is well aware of the fact that he's narrating a movie, and responds accordingly. Early parts of the film jump around a bit, there's a sardonic edge to every bit of information that Harry releases, and there's the constant sense that what you're watching is a movie, and thus shouldn't be taken too seriously.

To add further layers of irony, the movie is good - so good, in fact, that one falls helplessly into its trap, as each twist and turn brings you further in, and you keep believing, even as things get less and less believable, because the movie is actually much better than the movies it's parodying.

The reason for that is that the writer/director of the film, Shane Black, actually wrote those movies that he's parodying. He's the guy who wrote all the Lethal Weapon movies, and Last Kiss Goodnight. But he's so self-effacing that he's capable of brilliantly lampooning all the action movie cliches that he himself created. Though we shouldn't be suprised, he also wrote Last Action Hero - you know, the one where the kid goes into the Schwartzenegger movie - so he's already entrenched in the knowledge of what makes a successful parody.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is thrillingly fast-paced, uniquely funny, and capable of so indiscernably not taking itself to seriously that sometimes you barely notice it's a farce. Bravo.

Three-Dollar Value: $2.58