Directed by: Shane Black
Written by:Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan, Corbin Bernsen, Larry Miller, Shannyn Sossamon
Released: November 10, 2005
Grade: A-

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is a tasty mix of crime and comedy.  When a distraught Harmony Lane (Monaghan) bumps into old friend Harry Lockhart (Downey Jr), she pleads for his help in tracking down who just murdered her younger sister.  Harry’s always had a thing for Harmony and has every intention of helping her out.  The problem for Harry is that despite what he told Harmony, he’s not a real detective.  He’s just pretending to be one and he’s only hanging out with a real detective named Gay Perry (Kilmer) to help study for a film role.  He’s actually not an actor either but that’s another story.

The search for the killer has all the expected plot twists and clichés you’d expect from a cheap 1960s crime novel.  This isn’t a criticism of the film though – it’s more a statement about its design.  Harry and Harmony have read many such books and the fact that they now appear to be in one creates an opportunity to spoof the genre.  There are many “laugh out loud” moments and you have to laugh at the many predicaments our heroes get themselves into.  You could call it a subtler version of Austin Powers.

The most likeable aspect to the movie is the narration of Robert Downey Jr.  He breaks from his character on many occasions and talks directly to the audience.  He even goes to the trouble of pausing the film to point out key scenes and explain certain characters.  I know this isn’t an entirely new concept but Downey Jr has the laid-back charm to pull it off.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang marks the directorial debut of writer Shane Black, the man who penned the four Lethal Weapon movies along with The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero and The Long Kiss Goodnight.  He has a smart nose for comedy and has written some comical scenes for Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer to share.  I haven’t heard much from these actors of late and looking back at their resumes, I declare this as their best performance in at least five years.

There’s lots of kisses, lots of bangs and lots to be smiling about.