Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is the kind of film that frustrates me. A bunch. The sort of movie that has all the necessary pieces to be a classic--an inventive way to tell the story, solid acting, some of the best written dialogue in recent years--but somehow, finds a way to fall a bit short.
And this film does. Falls a bit short, that is. It's still a fine movie, but it could have been great.
Robert Downey, Jr. stars as Harry Lockhart, a low-rent thief who happens into a new lifestyle and potential gig as an actor in Hollywood. He takes up with Gay Perry (played cooly by Val Kilmer), a Private Dick hired to show Lockhart the ropes. Michele Monoghan's character, Holly, hooks up with the duo and drags them into a case that is complicated, surreal and deadly.
Downey is terrific as Lockhart, who tries to be a tough guy despite his penchant for tenderness. He carries the film, and does double duty as it's star and narrator. Kilmer is solid in his supporting role. Michele Monghan--who I don't recall seeing before this--was quite good as the stereotypical chick who's probably smarter than she is pretending to be.
Together, the three make a formidable team. There is chemistry, and there is suspense. The problem is, I think, there is no real substance.
Kiss, Kiss plays up the idea that this story is a few days in the real life of the central character, and tries to look-and-feel real life. Unfortunately, in movies--even good ones, like this--that can come across as rather bland.