Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Friday, December 15, 2006

Hidden Movie Gems (For My Netflix-Subscribing Friends) : Week 2

Film Noir With A Twist, Part II

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)

Though Lynda and I have diverging taste in movies ("Eight Below"? Please shoot me...), I dragged her to both Brick and this little film, and she enjoyed both of them very much....

This is a very fun little movie, combining both a send-up of hard-boiled detective novels and peek into the harsh realities of Hollywood. Robert Downey, Jr. plays a small time New York thief, who, while running from the police after tripping an alarm, inadvertantly stumbles into an audition for a Hollywood detective movie. Thinking he is being rousted by real police, he "acts" so well that the producers decide to wisk him to L.A. for a screen test. Thrust into the cutthroat world of L.A.'s pros, cons, losers and wannabes, Harry is teamed with tough-guy private eye Perry van Shrike (Val Kilmer), a.ka. "Gay Perry," to prepare him for his screen test. Gay Perry is ruthless, relentlessly tough and - you guessed it -gay. He also has little patience for Harry, who tries out his acting skills by passing himself off as a detective. It probably won't suprise you to find the pair involved in a real murder mystery before long....

If you thought the above plotline was a little on the ridiculous side, you're right, and that's part of the joke. The movie (and characters) plays with a wink toward the audience, and at the end of the film, the two protagonists apologise "to the good people of the Midwest" for saying "f**k" during the movie. In the middle, you get two really good performances from two of Hollywood's more enigmatic actors (Kilmer because he such a pain to work with, Downey because he can't seem to resist cocaine or whatever his drug du jour is) and a few memorable lines. I'll only repeat one so that I don't spoil the others:

(Gay Perry commenting on how L.A. seems to attract weird women:)

"It's like someone picked up the country by the east coast and shook it, and all the normal girls managed to hang on...."

For an interesting, fun story, some action, and good dialog, punctuated by some really good lines, this one's fits the bill. Enjoy.


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