A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Any positive themes of not letting dreams and aspirations overpower reality and vice-versa are overshadowed by the noir style and cynical attitudes of the characters.
Positive Role Models
The lead character is a thief at the beginning of the movie; while he grows to become something else, he's basically a cynic in the classic noir tradition. Other characters are equally cynical, often acting like they are only out for themselves.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent violence. Characters shot and killed at close range. Gun fights on city streets. Dead bodies found in lakes, in shower stalls. Lead character's index finger severed from his hand when a door slams into it. Blood. His finger is severed again, he tries to keep it preserved in the ice of an ice bucket, where a dog comes in and walks off with it in its mouth. Lead character tortured by electric shock to his testicles. Fighting with punches, kicks, and head butts. Discussion of how the sister of one of the lead characters was sexually abused by her father.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Female breasts in some scenes, brief. Talk of sex lives, past and present. Lead character calls his erection a "rodney." Lead character wakes up from an obvious one-night-stand, horrified when he sees who he has woken up next to. The two lead characters, men, make out with each other in an alley to avoid getting arrested; when a police car cruises by, the two officers inside make a homophobic joke about it.
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Frequent profanity, including regular use of "f--k." C-word used once. "A--hole." "P-ssy." "Bitch." Frequent gay jokes and slurs. A VHS tape has the title "Lord of the C-ck Ring." In a voice-over, lead character says he is "wetter than Drew Barrymore at a grunge club." Lead character speaks disparagingly of women who live in Los Angeles, speaking glibly of how they were all sexually abused as children. Talk of sex lives past and present.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Beer and liquor drinking. One of the lead characters is high on Demerol prescribed after an injury. Cigarette smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a 2005 action movie in which Robert Downey Jr. plays a NYC thief who, through a bizarre twist of fate, ends up in LA and must solve a murder. There's frequent violence and profanity in this post-modernist take on noir films. Language includes "f--k," "c--t," and "p--sy." While the movie addresses the sexual abuse of the lead characters and her sister, there is also a scene in which Downey Jr.'s character, even after knowing what the lead character/love interest/crush from his teen years went through, speaks disparagingly about women in Los Angeles and how they've all been sexually abused and that's why they act the way they do. Lead character has his index finger severed. He's later tortured by bad guys, shown screaming in excruciating pain while getting electric shocks to his testicles. Brief female nudity: breasts. Some drinking and cigarette smoking; the character who has his index finger severed is shown in the next scene to be high on Demerol. One of the other lead characters makes many dry-humored cracks about being gay, but other characters also make similar jokes. In a voice-over, lead character says that he is "wetter than Drew Barrymore at a grunge club." Overall, the stylized cynicism and unrelenting violence and profanity make this a movie for older teens and adults only. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a fragmented and jumpy flick fraught with beautiful people, comic books, and violence. Robert Downey Jr. is fun to watch, but he plays the neurotic, caring Harry the way some people might play a dope fiend. His character can be touching and sincere, but at the same time, he doesn't seem real. As Gay Perry, Val Kilmer delivers crude, self-deprecating one-liners about being homosexual, which he seems to flaunt out of resentment. His character lacks the nuance necessary to make him believable. Harmony is the strongest and most interesting character in the movie, but we're given enough of her past to hold our interest, then her storyline falls apart into choppy confusion.
The film is entertaining at times but lacks something that would make it a great movie. It tries to be hip, but hip is more than snazzy lines told by flippant, sexy people who shoot each other. A little more substance and care, and this movie would have been much better.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.