Who's in It:
Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Michele Monaghan
The Basics: A thief posing as an actor, the gay detective helping him with his "role" and the criminal's high-school love interest all get mixed up in a Hollywood murder mystery.
What's the Deal? The script for this movie must be double the normal length, because there's so much talk-talk-talking going on, and at such a machine-gun pace, that it can be hard to keep up if you're not used to old-school noir's double-time dialogue. Think of this hyperactive in-love-with-its-own-style buddy thriller as an R-rated, violent, crime-solving, macho gay dude episode of Gilmore Girls. Or maybe even just the anti-Lethal Weapon. Except that it was written by the same guy.
Surprise, Surprise: Writer-director Shane Black was responsible for setting the template for cops-and-robbers films of the past 20 years. Not just Lethal Weapon but The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight. And now you have to stop hating him for those tired movies because this one is so rad.
Career Rehab: Robert Downey Jr. came out of the womb behaving this way, it seems, but it's great to see him back in fighting form after all his off-screen hassles. And Val Kilmer hasn't been this cool in comedy since Real Genius. No, The Island of Dr. Moreau doesn't count.
Fun Fact: The title was taken from a quote by legendary film critic Pauline Kael, in which she summed up the pleasure of films with those four words.
The Kid Stays in the Picture: Downey's son plays him in a flashback scene.
One Beef: Monaghan is 29. She looks younger. Downey is 40. He looks older. But we're meant to believe they went to high school together. What, all the 40-year-old actresses were busy?