Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

(In theaters, November 2005) Writer/Director Shane Black took a long time in coming back to the big screen after hits such as Lethal Weapon, The Last Boyscout and The Long Kiss Goodnight, but the wait was worth it. With Kiss Kiss Bang Bang he manages to deliver a black comedy filled with snappy dialogue, off-beat characters, unusual situations and cleverly-used detail. That it pays homage to pulp detective fiction and is peppered with Hollywood in-jokes is just icing of the cake. Robert Downey Jr is a compelling protagonist (his sarcastic narration is good for a number of chuckles), Michelle Monaghan has a luminous turn as an almost-failed actress on the edge of bitterness and Val Kilmer exudes a comfortable confidence as a detective with plenty of trick up his… underpants. But the star of the picture is Shane Black; he first made his reputation with fantastic scripts, but his first directorial effort portends a number of even better films in his future. This isn’t a classic for the ages, but it’s a whole lot of fun. Fans of criminal fiction will find much to love in this unassuming low-budget effort… provided they don’t mind a bit of sarcasm and more twists than in a yellow paperback thriller.

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