Harry breaks into the private eye game in a truly novel way a petty thief running from the cops, he hides in a room where an audition happens to be taking place. The next thing he knows, he's in Hollywood for a screen test. To give him a bit of authenticity, he's asked to hang out with a consultant who is a real P.I., Perry (Val Kilmer). Perry is testy, smart, cynical and has even better dialogue than Harry. (He's also gay, which comes up in discussion a lot more on this in a minute.) The two find themselves bewilderingly at the center of a real case involving a couple of corpses (one of which keeps mysteriously being transported to wherever Harry goes) as Harry crosses paths with long-lost childhood love Harmony Lane (Michelle Monaghan), now trying to make it in the Big Orange.
Black, whose script sports
One note about Kilmer's Perry: on the one hand, the character thoroughly knows his business and projects effortless if generally exasperated self-confidence. On the other hand, Black possibly in an effort to be funny, possibly because he means well has created one of the most verbally defensive gay characters in recent memory. Perry is far from a stereotype, but most gay people in Los Angeles (at least the ones not directly in the midst of coming out to their friends and family on talk shows) tend not to continually make remarks of the yes-I'm-gay-want-to-make-something-of-it variety; even people who think this tend not to articulate it quite so much, especially when not being prompted to do so (Harry asks a few dumb questions, but not enough to trigger such frequent responses). It doesn't exactly sink the movie or our liking of Perry, but it gets a bit weird after awhile.
This is really the only major caveat. Otherwise, the writing is wry, the plot is twisty, the performances are pitch-perfect, the jokes are witty and the experience is as much fun as we'd hope something called KISS KISS, BANG BANG would be.