Redeeming Features: "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"

Welcome to Redeeming Features. The blog where I (poorly) review movies that are under-appreciated, underrated, or under the radar, in hopes of convincing you to give them a second chance. Kiss Kiss  Bang BangOur first underdog is actually one of my top movies – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, starring Robert Downey Jr., fat Val Kilmer, and Michelle Monaghan. You know, that one chick you always see in movies and you’re like, “Hey, I know her from... something.” Well, she’s in this something.

Also, before we dive in, I wanna address the obvious: despite its seemingly sultry title, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is not some soft-core gun porn. Although, there is a weird cutaway scene of a topless gal getting mauled by a werewolf. Hollywood, am I right?

Anyways, this little diddy is your classic whodunit, marinated in a kind of film noire, murder mystery type sauce, and topped with the snarky expositional voiceover of our leading lad, Harry (Robert Downey Jr.).

RDJ (it’s cool, we go way back) is our knight in shining charmer. Well, sort-of; actually, he’s kind of an amazing piece of shit. And a terrible narrator. His first line, while posted up at some gaudy LAXmas pool party, he says, “You may wonder how I wound up here. Or maybe not. [...] The point is, I don’t see another goddamn narrator here, so pipe down.” Sassy. Love it. Then, like some poor man’s Orson Welles, he helps us stumble through the plot, hopping back, forth, and really just all over the place; even skips a few parts, catches it later, and has to jump back.

Cutting away from the pool, we quickly learn Harry to be nothing more than a thief. And boy does he steal the show (yack yack yack). Literally though; running away from a busted burglary, he accidentally barges into an open casting call for an upcoming cop show (ironic, right?). And due to his actual state of panic, the casting agents mistake him for some kind of Daniel Day Lewis, giving him the part and effectively ROBBING the others of the role. So, now we know how he got to L.A.

There, he meets up with Perry (fat Val Kilmer), but everyone just calls him “Gay Perry.” But because he’s actually gay, it’s not one of those ironic nicknames like “Tiny” or “Dad." Gay Perry is there to teach Harry how to be a private investigator, which, now that I think about it, is a pretty funny title considering he later asks a Cuban man to search his junk. But I digress. Together, Harry and Perry romp about the town, investigating the things. Until one night, their stakeout goes awry, rendering them in charge of a) some dead girl’s body and b) figuring out how to get rid of the aforementioned dead girl’s body, all the while, stabbing each other with some impressively cutting insults.

*add a dash of romantic plot line*

Harry, via some slightly-forced writing, finds himself rubbing bar stools with his dream dame, Harmony (that one chick). Chit chat, witty banter, naked friend, disagreement, missing thumb, blah blah blah. Come to find out: Harmony, in a not-so-shocking turn of events, has a missing sister! Gasp! And in some not-so-difficult problem solving, we can piece together that it may be the dead girl from earlier! Double gasp!

So, now that we got the whole gang together, we Scooby Doo our way through a myriad of self-aware narration, refreshingly reprised mystery tropes, and depraved dialogue sure to make you feel like if you looked up the word “idiot” in the dictionary, you might just find a picture of yourself (read: me).

All in all, definitely well worth the watch. And despite only grossing $4 million over its estimated $15 million budget, I can assure you: Kiss Kiss delivers far more Bang Bang for its buck.

TL;DR - Fleeing robber accidentally auditions for a cop movie, gets the part, and has to learn the ropes. But in the process finds himself in the throws of an actual murder mystery.

Cody Tidmore is a Level Two sketch student at DCH. He’s been watching movies for as long as he can remember. Seeing it all – the good, the bad, even the ugly. And when it comes to annoyingly working movie quotes into regular conversation, he’s the reel deal.