Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
I know what I want this Christmas …

Theatrical Release Date: 10/21/2005
Director: Shane Black
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan

Who here likes film noir? How about those old, dime store crime novels? No? Me either. But I still really like the first film by screenwriter/director Shane Black, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”.

The essential story can be boiled down to a small time crook (Robert Downey Jr.) who through ridiculous happenstance lands himself a screen test on a big Hollywood production. His character needs some private detective training and cue in Val Kilmer. Toss in a damsel in distress (Michelle Monaghan) who enlists Downey on a real case and you have the recipe for crime solving disaster.

I will say that the narration was too glib and self-aware for my tastes. Also, the film borrows the old standby plot device of the main character retelling a story for the audience’s benefit. Did I mention I hate noir?

But again, the film makes up for this with witty dialogue and great chemistry between the three principal actors. I have been missing Kilmer’s comedic talents and it’s great to see him dive back into the funny pool. Monaghan is a rising talent and beautiful to boot. Downey provides another Downey-esque performance, which I am actually a little tired of, but his character here was a perfect fit.

Black’s direction and writing for this film are reminiscent of a forgotten/poorly done recently genre, the buddy pic. I haven’t enjoyed chemistry like this for years and I doubt this will kick start Hollywood into taking the time to get an original script, since they have whole catalogs of movies and television shows left to remake, but it’s nice to hope.

Saying much more would spoil the fun of the film so I’ll get right to the point. The film has an overly complicated plot and takes turns we haven’t seen since an episode of “Murder She Wrote”. Still, probably due to the involvement of “Lethal Weapon” producer Joel Silver, the film is fun and irreverent and just a nice ride to be on.

I’m going to give “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” a 4 out of 5. If you need a break from all the dramatic and epic films being released in December (and if this is still playing near you), give this film a try. Otherwise be sure to grab this off the video store shelves once it lands at a mega-conglomerate near you.