Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang Shane Black

For all the blather that people spout about not wanting the same old same old from our filmed entertainment, when a quality, quirky offering comes along, of course it does a fiscal face-plant at the box office. That was the fate of this clever neo-noir comedic murder mystery starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer in a career-missed-opportunity talent-off, directed by Shane Black who’s not really known for the fact that he wrote all four versions of Lethal Weapon. The fact that his slightly skewed take on Hollywood, acting and detective work found no purchase with audiences will likely lead him back down the path of The Last Boy Scout or The Long Kiss Goodnight (two o fhis other screenplay credits). That’s too bad because he demonstrates some crackling wit and a nice balance of darkly funny and humorously brutal, even as he reins in two aging hot shots in Downey Jr. and Kilmer who, let’s be honest, haven’t been living up to their potential. They have a great time, it seems, playing off each other, taking digs at each other both onscreen and throughout an occasionally fun and diverting three-way commentary. Michelle Monaghan (M:I III) does her best to avert Downey’s gaze (Kilmer’s Gay Perry is, well, gay) but the delight in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is its twisty script and the evident chemistry between its two male leads. The only other extra is a relatively diverting gag reel; the real treat is discovering a quality gem to bring home on a Friday night. (Warner)