Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

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A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor.

Harry Lockhart

Release Date:
11 September 2005

Brett Halliday (novel), Shane Black (screenplay)

“Bodies Are Where You Find Them”, by Brett Halliday

Mystery Analysis:
Detective as protagonist?

Jenny: Yep.  He’s even first in that stupid prologue.  Unfortunately the mystery doesn’t start there.
Lani: Yep, although it takes a while for the problem to start.

Murderer as antagonist?
Jenny: Yes.  As soon as the murder happens and Harry screws up the murderers nice clean getaway.
Lani: Yes, once the murder has actually happened.

Conflict created by mystery/murder?
Jenny: Yes, but again, not until the murder happens.  This movie needed to start much later; it’s got two prologues and then a huge waste of time about the heroine’s friend, and THEN the murder happens.
Lani: Yes. Until Harry witnesses the dead girl in the trunk, the antagonist couldn’t care less about him.

Fair play with all the clues given?
Jenny: Yes.
Lani: Yes.

Solved using deduction, not luck?
Jenny: Yes.
Lani: Yes.

All threads pertaining to the mystery pull together at the end?
Jenny: Too damn many threads are resolved, some of them having nothing to do with the main plot.  We were hostile at that point.
Lani: Yes, although some threads are resolved when we don’t need them necessarily.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 4 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 4 (splitting the difference between the sloppy plotting and the incredible dialogue) Suspense: 4, Romance: 3 (Harry and Perry would have gotten a 5; they really missed an opportunity to do a great gay romance here)

Lani says: 4 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 4, Suspense: 4, Romance: 3 (5 between Perry and Harry; 1 between Harry and Harmony, splitting the difference.)


6 responses to “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”

  1. I remember that I did see this one when you first discussed mystery, or made the initial list. I was attempting to write mystery at that point. Can’t recall much about it. Now, I’m not sure if that means it was incredibly bad, or that my memory is going. Ha ha.

  2. I wanted to like this one–the kooky narration usually works for me and I thought it started with promise and the actors are fun– but once the mystery kicked in, I mostly got all “uh, what the hell?” about it. The ending especially is a “what the hell?” Ditto the easily-amputated finger that RDJ doesn’t even give much of a shit about. By the time all the dead people come back, I was kind of like “eh, they don’t care about this movie, why should I?”

  3. I love love love this film. Unpredictable (compared to a lot of this kind of thing) and funny. But you are absolutely right about the start – it drags like anything.

  4. A while back I mentioned how the Bridesmaids trailer looked like wreck of bad characters, except, hey look at that, it blew up & everybody loved it. So now I watched it & it’s actually great. Interesting characters, funny/painful awkward moments and lots of plain funny scenes. Plus, if you like Hot Tub Time Machine, there’s a scatological scene for you.

  5. There were times while I watched this that I thought The Big Sleep made more sense. I suspect that was because Harry kept rewinding during his narration and they kept stopping for his romance with Harmony. I’m still confused about how one makes the jump from “no underwear on the corpse” to “mental hospital” though. I mean, I understand that you CAN get there, I just don’t buy that you make the leap within 5 seconds of hearing the information. I did like the fact that they used Raymond Chandler titles to for each day. And Harry and Perry are awesome, I love all their scenes.

    I hate to say this since Jenny and Lani are both so tired of noir, but, well…Laura is definitely noir. In fact I think it’s more noir than Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I love it, but I have some doubts about how the romance is going to be rated. The mystery is excellent though, so that’s something. Can’t wait for The Big Easy – one of my favorites.

  6. It’s in the same time period, but it’s not noir. The worldview is different, the hardboiled detective is a softie, and the heroine is (in theory) perfect. So Laura is noir the way The Thin Man is noir: same time period, different worldview.