Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a neo-noir/dark comedy/buddy movie that apparently sank without a trace in 2005. It stars Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, and Michelle Monaghan.
Harry (Downey Jr.) is a small-time thief who blunders into a movie audition while running from the cops. Whisked out to L.A., he is told to take detective lessons from "Gay Perry" (Kilmer; I do wish the two main male characters did not both have —rry names). Perry's the only sensible character in the entire movie, and so he's understandably upset when Harry panics and makes it impossible for them to go to the police about the dead body they just saw get dumped in a lake:
"Look up idiot in the dictionary, you know what you'll find?"
"A picture of me?"
"No! The definition of the word idiot, which you fucking are!"
Besides being an idiot, Harry is also our narrator and provides one level of meta by breaking the fourth wall several times (mostly at the beginning and end). A series of pulp novels provides another level of meta: he and a childhood friend, Harmony (Monaghan), read a bunch of them at a formative age. So when Harmony's sister appears to have killed herself, Harmony thinks it was (1) murder and (2) the seemingly-normal plot strand that will eventually intersect with the weird plot strand of the girl in the lake, just as always happens in the books. She begs Harry for help, and because Harry wants to get in her pants, he lets her think he's an actual private detective who'll take the case.
(Yes, they're supposed to be the same age, even though Downey Jr. is eleven years older than Monaghan and looks more like fifteen. This was tough on my suspension of disbelief and perception of Harmony's character. Also, either Downey Jr. gained a lot of shoulder muscle for Iron Man or his clothes were cut very much differently there, because I kept being distracted by how big his head was in relation to his shoulders.)
The plot may or may not end up making sense; I was tired and distracted by some other aspects of the movie. I'd be surprised if anyone watches this for the plot, though. As this A.V. Club review with clips says, it's a movie to watch for the dialogue, the meta riffing, and the fun the actors are having. There are a few cliches that I wish it had avoided altogether, instead of winking and nodding at them, and one of the underlying assumptions makes me mildly twitchy, but if you like your comedy dark and your noir self-conscious, and you miss the buddy movie, you should probably give this a try.
I'm going to ROT-13 the spoilers because so few people will have seen this movie (and then cut them just for tidyness).
ROT-13'ed spoilers; won't make very much sense if you haven't seen the movie. Please also ROT-13 spoilers if you want to talk about it.
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