Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Probably the most famous critic on film before Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel introduced their thumbs to the world on TV was Pauline Kael. This film derives its title from one of her famous quotes on movies: "The words "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," which I saw on an Italian movie poster, are perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of movies. This appeal is what attracts us, and ultimately what makes us despair when we begin to understand how seldom movies are more than this."

Here is a movie that is smart, funny, glossy should have been a big hit. Was it the lack of a major star? The October release on only a few screens? The fact that other than a small niche, there is no interest in noir these days? (A fabulous little film which has been dubbed teen-noir, Brick, was similarly ignored in theatres a couple months ago.)

Taking its chapter titles from Ramond Chandler novels, and its title from film Pauline Kael, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a screen writers movie. But you can ignore all that, this film has two fabulous lead performances doing pitch perfect action buddy comedy schtick: Robert Downey Jr. doing what he does best, playing it big, loud, and full of snark and Val Kilmer playing to his strengths, namely a charismatic, stylish, deadpan tough guy. But here is that 2005 spin, he is gay. He is a private Eye nicknamed Gay Perry who is hired to coach petty criminal turned actor, Harry Lockhart (Downey Jr.).

Bodies show up, as do a couple of femme fatales, a string of clever and witty quips (many of these featuring the narrator casually conversing with the audience, to the point of pointing important bits out, critiquing other films, or even rewinding the movie on occasion) all pepper the fast paced narrative. It all adds up to nothing, but it is damn entertaining getting there. The movie is smart-alecky, wise ass, and needy all at the same time. It wants to be loved, even as it throws out wild tonal shifts (comedy to violence) and grotesque situations in all directions. And there is nothing wrong with that, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is not even a year old and is already considered a vastly underrated comedy gem.

No fuss, no muss. Come out Tuesday and enjoy this dressed up, but deep down, pure and simple entertainment. No Subtitles, no 'establishing mood,' no subtext. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD-folks welcome. Beers & Cocktails at 8pm. Trailers & Showtime at 8:30.


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