Pillbox

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang preview

?This is every shade of wrong,? Harry Locke exclaims as he finds himself getting deeper and deeper into a series of loosely connected murders in Los Angeles. Locke is played by Robert Downey, Jr., who gives a stellar performance in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang as the New York City thug who avoids prosecution by pretending to be an actor in the oh-so-shallow Los Angeles film community. The film follows Locke as he and a Hollywood heavyweight, Gay Perry (Val Kilmer), begin investigating the suspicious murder of a local heiress whose corpse they stumble upon while training Locke for his role as a detective.

Locke, a kleptomaniac, is a dumb criminal. Not street-smart in any sense of the word, he picks fights with all the wrong guys. In a moment of extreme stupidity, he shouts at the killers when he and Gay Perry happen upon them dumping the heiress? body into the lake. That gets him onto the killers? hit list, and soon after, the killers take the body and deposit it in his shower, instead.

Frightened to death, Locke urinates on the body before he hides under his own bathroom counter and curls up, eyes wide with shock. Shaking uncontrollably, Locke desperately calls Gay Perry, who earlier had curtly told Locke to ?hesitate to call.?

Perry, a clever guy who manages to always stay one step ahead of everyone else, helps Locke deposit the body, now completely mutilated. Without so much as scratching his beautiful Mercedes Benz, Gay Perry shoves the body in the trunk of his car, drives to an isolated part of town, and he and Locke dump the body on a street sidewalk before speeding off.

The plot thickens as Locke realizes that his long-lost love, Harmony, is connected with the murder and may also be in jeopardy. Harmony (Michelle Monaghan) is a Hollywood hopeful approaching middle age with only a beer commercial to her credit. Coming from an abusive family in the Midwest, Harmony brings her own baggage to the plot when her long-lost sister turns up dead. In denial that her sister could have taken her own life, Harmony demands to get in on the case and begins to help Gay Perry and Locke with the investigation. Never a damsel in distress, Harmony is quick on her feet and even faster to realize the truth behind the murders.

Through a series of ever-worsening twists and turns, Locke finds himself having acquired a nasty bullet wound and a scarred face, losing his ring finger and his dignity. Perry, ever the resourceful sidekick, continually manages to weasel them out of trouble.

Gay Perry does not so much as shudder at the sight of mutilated corpses, nor react to desperate Los Angeles actresses wearing nothing more than strategically placed strings, or sometimes nothing at all. Though Perry?s not startled by boobs and brutality, you might be. This movie does have quite a bit of nudity and gruesome scenes that might be too much for more sensitive audience members to handle. (I had my hand over my eyes for well over half the film, but then again, I had nightmares from the original I Know What You Did Last Summer).

However, the sarcastic writing of the film keeps audiences laughing at its movie cliches. Locke?s narration of the film also helps clear up the somewhat confusing plot and allows the audience to understand the characters in an intimate and hilarious way.

As the title suggests, the film is half romantic comedy, half murder-mystery thriller, but it always manages to be witty and sarcastic. In addition to narrating, Locke freezes frames, curses himself for his terrible narration, and pokes fun at the far-fetched plot. As the story begins to unwind, Locke tells the audience: ?Don?t worry, I saw Lord of the Rings. I?m not going to end this 17 times.?

And after an hour and 40 minutes of strong profanity and a complete absence of political correctness, Locke and Gay Perry apologize to all those in the audience whom they might have offended.

Although Locke may find his situation to be every shade of wrong, audiences will love every moment of this black comedy with an attitude. Not for the easily offended, the movie takes a lighthearted stab at combining ?sex,
murder, and mystery? into an enjoyable two-hour adventure.