Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

I had wanted to catch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in the theatres, but the movie had finished its run by the time I had free time to catch it. So I waited till it was released on DVD.

I was interested by the idea of Val Kilmer playing a gay private investigator. There was a lot of press about how the sexuality of his character, Gay Perry, was treated matter-of-factly. Kilmer himself said in an interview how he wanted to make a series of movies with Robert Downey Jr. along the lines of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Jette certainly likes it. The Advocate warned gays overly sensitive to smart-ass dialogue they may not like it.

I guess that must not make me overly sensitive — I liked it because it’s so smart ass.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang doesn’t take itself seriously. Even the narration provided by Downey, who plays petty thief Harry Lockhart, abruptly stops the film and jumps around the timeline.

It’s a film that knows it’s a noir/buddy detective/mystery/comedy, but it’s not so conceited that it comes across as cooler-than-thou.

Identities are mistaken. Damsels are in distress. Bullets fly, and the bodies pile up. This movie pokes fun at itself and the genre from which it’s borne, all the while delivering unbelievable action sequences and spinning a convulted plot.

Harry fumbles along, getting his ass kicked in one unlikely scrape after another, and with each soul-deadening event — dumping his first body, shooting his first bad guy — you see his character adjusting uncomfortably to being the hero.

Gay Perry, by contrast, is mercenary. Hard as he tries to keep his professional distance, he’s a stand-up guy in the end. Rather than trading in queenly quips, he’s hard-boiled to the core.

"So, you still gay?" Harry asks. "No, I’m up to my ears in pussy," Perry deadpans.

Like Jette, I too could have done without the finger thing, but the rest of the movie has a that breezy informal feel of Steven Sodebergh’s Out of Sight. (Jette namechecks another Sodebergh film, Oceans 11.)

Action/mystery films haven’t been very accepting of gay characters, so Kilmer’s Perry is a refreshing change. His on-screen kiss with Downey puts a nice twist in your typical gotta-divert-the-cops scene.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is smarty and funny, a movie that has fun at its own expense.