Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan, Corbin Bernsen
Directed By: Shane Black
Written By: Shane Black
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 43 min
Shane Black pens the script and directs a story influenced by the Brett Halliday novel, ‘Bodies Are Where You Find Them.’ A ‘hardboiled’ murder mystery, narrated in a very tongue-in-cheek way by our central anti-hero, Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) The opening narration, accompanied by a dizzying set of cutaways and freeze frames, explains how Harry goes from being a thief in New York City one day, to partying with Hollywood socialites the next. To say that explanation strains credibility is an understatement, but it does adequately set the tone for this crazy crime comedy.
What follows however, is a convoluted mess in my opinion. A story it seems, starring what ever archetypes were needed to move the plot forward. Harry Lockhart for example in back to back scenes can be a coward, and then an avenging hero capable of murder. A lovesick puppy declaring everlasting love one moment, then a jealous idiot the next. The development of these characters and their motivations isn’t consistent, so while their actions move the plot forward, they don’t always fit the part being played.
So about half way through the film, I just stopped caring, because while I’m up for a cleverly worked twist in a story, I don’t have a lot of patience for unsubstantiated character revelations, and contrived plot devices. And while the dialog in places was pretty decent, even occasionally funny, I could hardly make out what Robert Downey Jr. was saying most of the time. His stumbling, mumbled delivery, and annoying narration were the final nails in the coffin that was my enthusiasm for this movie.
If you like your comedy crime capers fast and loose, and you’re not worried too much about everything making sense, and you can understand what a Robert Downey Jr. is saying. Then you might enjoy this film. The movie is rated R due to nudity, language and violence.
This movie will be adequately served on a TV, laptop, tablet or phone.
Robert Downey Jr.’s annoying opening narration along with the frequent cutaways and freeze frames.