Directed by Shane Black, starring Robert Downey Jr, Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan and Corbin Bernsen.
'Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang' is an action comedy-thriller which marks the intriguing directorial debut of its writer, Shane Black, whose dubious writing credits include 'Lethal Weapon'. This story of a petty thief who accidentally makes his break in the movie industry sets out unsure of what kind of movie it is trying to be but ends having ticked all the right boxes and leaving one strangely wanting to see more of an unlikely Robert Downey Jr/Val Kilmer double act.
Harry Lockhart (Downey Jr) is a New York-based thief who finds himself giving the performance of a lifetime at an acting audition while trying to flee the cops following a botched robbery. This leads to Harry being installed in an LA hotel attending soulless Hollywood parties while waiting for a screen-test which could potentially change his life.
Surrounded by the hustlers and wannabes of the movie industry, a weary Harry is paired up with private detective Perry Van Shrike (a rather rotund Kilmer) in an effort to get into character ahead of the crucial audition. This mismatched pair are then reluctantly drawn into a series of murders for which Harry seems to have been framed. With the help of Michelle Monaghan, as Harry's token love interest, they set out to solve the mystery killings and the film settles into a homage of sorts to the classic noir detective movies of the 1950s.
Despite the presence of Monaghan, this is Downey Jr and Kilmer's movie and it is their on-screen bickering like a warring married couple which provides most of the humour and leaves one wanting more. Downey Jr certainly proves his credentials as leading man material while Kilmer, never a very likable actor, may have found his niche in playing a gay, egotistical private eye.
This mishmash of different genres easily could have been a disaster but somehow Black hits the right note and it has enough laugh out loud moments to keep even the most jaded of movie fans amused. Watch out in particular for Downey Jr's hilarious scene with a hungry dog. A surprising treat!