ScreeningNotes’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Captain fucking magic."
I didn't take screening notes since I was just watching this to show it to my sister and her boyfriend who are in town for the holidays, so instead of a proper review here's a list of my favorite things about this hilarious movie.
- Gay Perry is right about everything. He constantly tells Harry and Harmony to leave the case alone or they'll get in trouble. Then they don't leave the case alone and get in trouble. He tells Harry to his face that he's stupid. He has some of the best timed/delivered insults in cinematic history. Which leads me to my second point...
- Harry and Harmony are idiots. Everything that goes wrong with the film is a result of their actions. They even know how inept they both are, often with tragicomic consequences. Harry says he gives up on everything halfway through, which is darkly ironic considering he talks to his kids (remember he has kids?) twice at the beginning of the film but then we never hear from them again. Harmony says she's not a good actress, that there are better and younger out there, which is also sadly self-aware considering that she's even taken out of her only achievement―the stupid beer commercial which has a new actress in it when it plays at the end of the film.
- The movie is a Johnny Gossamer novel in the best/worst possible way. The characters occasionally comment on how the events surrounding them eerily reflect the standard Gossamer plot points, but this doesn't take on meaning until we also consider how they explain that the writer of the Gossamer books was a hack only concerned about money. The word "gossamer" itself refers "to something very light, thin, and insubstantial."
- The movie also takes most of the lessons from this great video on visual comedy in cinema. It has perfectly timed & designed sound effects, things entering and exiting the frame in comical ways, matching scene transitions, and exaggerated lighting cues.
Sometimes it's hard to find light entertainment that's also made well, but for me Kiss Kiss Bang Bang succeeds in treading that fine line. The film achieves a level of complexity without losing its entertaining atmosphere.