Sunday, January 29, 2006

Film - Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang


The title of this film came from the Japanese press who used it to describe James Bond in the '60s.

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Based on the trailer, I really did not want to see this film. It had no appeal for me. However, it also ended up fairly high on lists of last year's best films, so I thought I would give it a shot.

Essentially, this is a fairly complex multiple-murder mystery, with plenty of lowest-common denominator scenes thrown in, mostly unnecessarily so, for good measure.

Robert Downey Jr. is Harry Lockhart, a criminal who, while running away from the cops, bursts into a room in which auditions are being held. They assume he is an actor and he is selected for a screen test. They team with up with private detective Perry, Val Kilmer's character.

Lockhart meets up with his childhood dream girl, harmony Faith Lane, played by Michelle Monaghan, (11 years his junior and it shows), who is an aspiring actress. Harmony hopes to make it big to rescue her little sister from their sexually abusive father.

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A mysterious client hires Perry to film the millionaire 25 year-old daughter of a businessman, who, after years of being estranged, has decided to return to America from Europe and to share her fortune with her father. She ends up being killed, our two heroes find her body and they soon become involved in a complex plot involving other murders that are all tied together.

This film was funny and action packed, not unlike Beverley Hills Cop. Downey Jr. is one of the planet's best actors and he performs manically, at full tilt. Val Kilmer's character is the straight man, who may or may not be gay, but he turns in a comically cool performance that is just as hilarious. Michelle Monaghan looks too way to be our main character's high school dream girl, but she provides an al right performance given the somewhat distasteful character she portrays. I felt some sympathy for Harmony, but not enough due to her trashy lifestyle.

This is the type of film where you really have to pay attention, otherwise you will be watching but not understanding what is going on. It's also so convaluted that you really can't figure out the ending.

What I didn't like about Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang was the tasteless lowest-common denominator scenes, often involving some aspect of sex, and the overuse of swearing. Sometimes you have to dumb down a film to draw in audiences, but I wonder if the film would have been more interesting if they just toned things down a touch.

While definitely not for everyone, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is better than I expected and I would see it again.

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