Thursday, May 24, 2007

50th Anniversary! Movies: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

First, allow me to congratulate myself, as all hoity-toity publications do, on my 50th blog entry. Here at Dahlhaus, now an established and worthy vehicle for my intermittent vituperations, we are looking forward to a long and rosy future. That aside, onto the grist.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a completely implausible but quite fun shoot-em-up Hollywood detective tale, featuring the usually-the-same but almost-always-excellent Robert Downey Jr., the usually-great-despite-being-in-shitty-movies but somewhat-disappointing-this-time Val Kilmer, and some hot girl (Michelle Monaghan). RD Jr., as Harry, is a somewhat unsuccessful AV thief living in New York when he accidentally walks into a movie audition and is invited to LA for a screen test. Kilmer, as Perry, is a gay private eye/consultant who sometimes takes actors along with him on jobs to train for their roles. Monaghan, as Harmony Faith Lane (her screen name is Alison Ames. . . oughtn't it be the other way 'round?), is a smart and beautiful wannabe actress who has so far only managed to land one beer commercial.

As the plot comes around, we discover that Harry and Harmony knew each other as children (surprise!) and Harry has always been in love with her. Then some people get shot, and then Harry gets beat up and then more shooting, and then wait—Harmony's dead, but wait—no, it was just her little sister who's dead, and then Harry gets beat up some more and there's more shooting, and Perry and Harry argue, and Perry doesn't want to be part of the case but he gets dragged in anyway, and somewhere in there is an evil older actor or producer or some such who is causing all of these shootings of young lasses (oh, did I forget to mention the body in the lake and the body in Harry's shower? Same body: pretty girl, no underpants), and then they all have a car chase, and then everybody almost dies, but in the end, all three heroes live, and Harry and Harmony live happily ever after, with Perry too, who hires Harry as an official sidekick. Whew!

Anyway, the only thing particularly. . . particular about this movie is the (already dated) post-modern narration, in which Harry admits from the beginning that he is telling us a story via film, and occasionally "stops" (of course, he's not really the one doing it) the film, rolls back a few frames, and tells us that he's being a bad narrator, or that we should have noticed this or that detail, or that the end of the movie is silly. Of course, we are still to read him as Harry (we're not watching the commentary, that is, of RD Jr.), and so while the movie is flush with its moviehood (and being set in Hollywood helps), suspension of disbelief is still very operative, and ironically, or un-ironically, or post-ironically, no new territory is really carved (the way it is, for example, in Stranger Than Fiction). Still, fun to watch, but not a must-see. Also, the opening credits are nicely done, if a bit Bond/Hitchcock rip-off-ish.

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