Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Shane Black (2005)

Like Altman’s perverse update of Raymond Chandler in his The Long Goodbye, this movie pays homage to the hardboiled detective flick by messing with its conventions and referencing the high points of its canon. Unlike The Long Goodbye, Kiss Kiss can’t decide, finally, whether it means to be a spoofy pastiche of the genre or a contribution to it. This ambivalence creates a mildly interesting sense of vertigo as the director constantly climbs to meta altitude and then suddenly dives to plot level. That’s about it. Oh, except there’s an incredibly persistent and apparently gratuitous stream of gay jokes. I didn’t really get why that was.

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