Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005): A Gay Buddy Film


After being told by numerous people (well, two at least) that Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was a dynamite film that showed implicitly that Shane Black was an awesome director before Iron Man 3, I decided to watch it. Especially after seeing a clip from the film that featured Val Kilmer, Robert Downey Jr and Evan Parke where Downey shoots Parke in the head.

Despite that sounding bad, it was actually quite funny and after being told by my soon-to-be illustrious director Natasha Harmer that, “Oh, it gets even better.” Watching the film became a “done deal.” Just for the record the other “fan” of this film is my daughter Meg’s significant other Max.

Based, in part, on a Brett Halliday novel titled Bodies are Where You Find Them (whatever that means) and with a screen story/screenplay written by Shane Black and directed by same, – And yes, it’s the Shane Black who wrote the Lethal Weapon films, plural, and other great bits of movie magic – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or KKBB as I’ll refer to it for the rest of this post, is a kick ass, funny film with just enough tongue in cheek humour directed at the audience to take the sting of the sadder bits of the film.

Whew! Try reading that last marathon of a sentence with one breath. Go ahead, try! I dare you!

Narrated by Downey, KKBB is a journey through the Los Angeles movie crowd as dictated by every movie ever made about Hollywood. It abounds with stereotypes, clichés and enough two-dimensional characters to populate a Top Cat cartoon.


These have all been done on purpose. At the beginning of the film, Downey is introducing himself as our narrator and cheerfully telling us how bad he is going to be and then proceeds to show us. He also starts the film standing by a heated swimming pool, occasionally dipping his shoes into the water.

The reference to Sunset Boulevard is obvious and if you didn’t see it? Shame on you! Now go out now and watch Sunset Boulevard and tell me you can’t see the reference. I’ll wait.

Gay Perry and Harry...There must be a joke there somewhere...
Gay Perry and Harry…There must be a joke there somewhere…

Downey plays Harold a cheap thief who gets to Hollywood and the fabulous party with the pool via a  perfectly timed escape from east coast cops where he bursts into an audition and gets hired. While at the party he meets Val Kilmer, a gay private detective who goes by the name of Gay Perry. He meets the host who is mega rich and mega rich Harlan Dexter (played by Corben Bernsen who makes a great bad guy) and sees a girl that piques his interest.

Later he finds out that this intriguing girl is non-other than Harmony Faith Lane (Michelle Monaghan), a childhood crush from his hometown. While trying to win the girl, Harold gets involved with Gay Perry to learn how to be a detective. This “one-night-stand” results in a murder mystery that serpentines through the entire film involving all the main characters.

Love interest Harmony. I will resist all temptation to make jokes about Christmas Stockings...
Love interest Harmony. I will resist all temptation to make jokes about Christmas Stockings…

Downey was, as usual, brilliant. How anyone can put themselves through so much substance abuse hell and still continually “knock it out of the park” is beyond me, but we’re glad he can.

Val Kilmer actually entertained me for once and I actually liked his character.  So kudos to the man who I’ve never really liked much except for  his Doc Holliday in Tombstone and  his role in the  film Red Planet, where he also knocked his role(s) out of the park.

Michelle Monaghan was quirky and cute and funny. She was also sad and funny as the girl who “didn’t make it.” Her bear/beer commercial was sadly funny as well, although having actor Laurence Fishburne voicing said bear in the commercial didn’t hurt.

This film is a real 5 out of 5 stars effort by all concerned. It didn’t quite make me feel a full range of emotion. I cannot, hand on heart, say that, “I laughed, I cried, blah blah.” But laugh I did and the film delivered so adequately on that score that sometimes I even laughed when it wasn’t politically correct to do so.

A great film, that shows that Shane Black is more than a one trick pony.

Simply Great.

Downey Jr and Black...Bromance...
Downey Jr and Black…Bromance…


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

34 thoughts on “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005): A Gay Buddy Film”

  1. Lovely review Mike, I’ve only seen the film twice and but I totally love it. It’s so nicely stylized, the dialogue and characters are very entertaining and the humour is awesome. Downey Jr. And Kilmar make a great pair and I’ve their dynamic in this film. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is just one of thiose cool-ass films that needs to be experienced by everyone. P.S. I could really see Shane Black’s style reflected in Iron Man 3 when I wacthed it.


  2. Very happy to read that you enjoyed this movie, it is one of my favorites, too many funny moments to mention, great performances all round and a lot of unexpected twists, really love it.


  3. Glad you liked it 🙂
    I had to study this film inside and out, yet I still love it! Usually I hate things I have to study so that says a lot about how good it is xD
    A nice little film noir pastiche 🙂
    Don’t you just love the finger scene, and the dog! god, such a funny film!


      1. The dog is adorable though! I would hug that dog if it ate my leg let alone my finger it’s so damn cute! Almost as adorable as Harry 😉 and RDJs son as the magician/younger Harry in the beginning was adorable too!


      2. It does love a hit that’s for sure…although he might just turn into a blockbuster making machine…and since KKBB was a complete box office flop he’ll probably just turn his hand to cliche crowd pleasers 😦


      3. I know! It amazes me that this film got soooo panned by so many critics! One reason why I avoided it! Should have known better, really!


      4. Same, I loved it xD overly postmodern films don’t do well though…I know a lot of people hated it because of how complicated and nonsensical the story is, but to me that’s the beauty of pomo but then again I’m a nerd xD Got a lot of stick for trying to be too clever, which I can kind of see…but those kinds of films don’t fare well with people that just want to sit and passively let a film just wash over them, and that makes up quite a big number of the audience! lol


    1. Don’t think it’s a direct remake but it’s a parody/pastiche of film noir and buddy movies, so some inspiration was probably drawn from that! It kind of plays around with the conventions of film noir, and the characters use their knowledge of a set of famous detective novels to solve the mystery, which is a nudge to film noir, and possibly the ’66 film of the same name although I’ve not seen it, and their basis on detective novels.
      It’s worth watching 😀 one of my favourite films!!


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