Guaranteed Happiness: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a film I’ve loved since the fist time I watched it, and always proves to be an enjoyable experience, yet I fear that from now on I won’t enjoy it any more, because I will have horrific, Vietnam-style flashbacks to my latest viewing, or rather the repercussions from it. You see, I volunteered to appear on The Lamb‘s weekly podcast, The Lambcast, for their Movie Of The Month segment, and I was overjoyed to discover that said movie was Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Granted, I may have voted 7 or 8 times for it and hoped that one of the primaries would drop out so I could discuss such a great film with some similarly-minded individuals, so I can’t say I was overly surprised when it won. However, this was my first ever podcast (recorded last Sunday), and I was so horrifically bad in it that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to enjoy said film again. The episode has now dropped, and is available on iTunes (search Lambcast in podcasts) or via this link. I urge you to listen to it more for the scintillating discussion between Dan Heaton, Justin Gott, Kristen Lopez and Nick Jobe  than for my dismal contribution, however if I’ve ever wronged you in the past (a list longer than I’d like), then you may also enjoy the podcast, for different reasons. If you could just ignore my horribly grating, nasally drone whenever it aggravates your eardrums and pretend instead it was just a four-way chat then I’d appreciate it.
Maybe it was because I’m a first timer and everyone else there seemed far more experienced at it than I, probably because they are and some of them regularly hold podcasts of their own, or maybe it’s that I’m genuinely not very good at talking about films with real live actual people without using a keyboard (it doesn’t happen very often), but I’d like to issue an apology to Dan, Justin, Kristen and Nick for lowering the quality of the podcast, and for relentlessly interrupting and talking over them when I had nothing very interesting to say. I was nervous, and it’s never been more abundantly clear that when talking about films, I truly do not know what I’m talking about. Also, I hate public speaking, so signing up for a podcast was probably a pretty dumb thing to do. Don’t worry, I won’t do it again.
Oh my God I just listened to some, and I sound so fucking posh. I promise you I’m not posh at all, my head is nowhere near as far up my arse as my tone sounds, I think that’s just how the English accent comes off when compared to Americans (no offense). I can’t be posh, I live in a three-room flat and there’s holes in my socks. Anyway, even if you don’t listen to the podcast I insist that you at least watch the film. If you do listen to the podcast, watch the film first, as we do cross into some spoilers.Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has been one of my favourite films since the first time I saw it. I don’t even remember it being released in the UK, and instead found out about it through word of mouth, and upon a friend’s recommendation I purchased it and watched it that very evening. It did fairly terribly in cinemas, and only marginally better on DVD, but hopefully I’ll do something here to widen it’s audience.The plot sounds fairly straightforward. Robert Downey Jr. is Harry, a petty criminal, knocking off toy stores with a buddy late at night for his niece’s Christmas gift. When the robbery gets busted, Harry unwittingly stumbles into a casting call for a detective role and accidentally nails the audition, earning him a trip to L.A., where he’s trained by Val Kilmer’s real life detective, Gay Perry. Whilst in Hollywood, Harry falls for Michelle Monaghan’s Harmony Faith Lane, and gets in deep with both the case Perry is working on, and an issue Harmony has regarding her sister.

So far, so standard, but what follows is a plot so brilliant, with a script so delightfully witty and crammed with gems that my writing about it cannot possibly do it justice. Shane Black, writer of Lethal Weapon, The Long Kiss Goodnight and The Last Boy Scout and actor of Hawkins, the guy telling the lewd jokes in Predator, here not only wrote but directed the film, making his imminent directing of Iron Man 3 something I cannot wait to see.

I’m not going to go into too much more detail, as we did that on the podcast, and I’d only be repeating myself, but rest assured that you will without a doubt at least like this film. The only person I’ve ever met who hasn’t loved it has an issue with mild bodily mutilation (there is a very brief, and funny, torture scene in which you don’t see anything). The film has everything – great characters, perfect script (“Oh look, there’s an elephant. Let’s drain it’s blood to paint my boathouse.”), stellar direction. The only thing it seemed to be missing was anything close to a marketing budget.

Choose film 10/10

16 thoughts on “Guaranteed Happiness: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

  1. If it helps, I rarely listen to podcasts. I figure if someone can't go to the effort to actually write a movie review then I'm not going to bother giving them my time.I love Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Other than the fact that Downey looks about 20 years older than Monaghan I don't have anything bad to say about it. I named it one of my Top 5 Non-Traditional Christmas Movies last December."There was like an 8 percent chance the gun was loaded!""Eight percent? Where did you learn math?"

  2. I do most of my pod-listening at work, and very few of the ones I listen to are directly movie-related (The Lambcast, The Film Vault, Empire's Podcast and Doug Loves Movies), only one of which really reviews the films.The age difference doesn't really annoy me – I think he's supposed to be 2 years older, but was about 12 – and it's probably my #2 Non-Traditional Christmas Movies (great list idea), with #1 being, predictably, Die Hard."Stop multiplying!"

  3. Good review Jay. My problem with this movie was that it was a little too confusing and twisty with it's plot, but I still had a great time watching Downey and Kilmer play off of one another unlike anything else. Seriously, where the hell has Kilmer gone?!? The guy has perfect comedic timing and owns just about every line of dialogue he's given here.

  4. Cheers Dan. Alas, Kilmer was last seen amongst the direct-to-DVD dross, and by the looks of it he won't be escaping the bargain bins any time soon. Methinks he needs to find a better agent.

  5. Jason, you're being way too hard on yourself. I think you made good points during the show and don't remember you talking over anyone. You probably didn't have as much room because of my long, rambling comments! I've found with the LAMBcast that sometimes I end up talking more, and other times it's the opposite and I'm mostly quiet. It's tricky when you have five people on the same show. Either way, I think you did well. I'm glad that I was able to check out Kiss Kiss Bang Bang for the first time too!

  6. "never understood why that film has so many haters"It goes back to what I wrote in my 500th post. Some people hate anything that has romance in it, or happiness in it. They are just sour people who don't like it when others are happy when they aren't. As a result, they badmouth the movie.That's the majority. The rest are made up of young men who only went to see this movie because their girlfriend made them and they figured they would get laid as a result, and they didn't. So they end up hating the movie.

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