‘The Nice Guys’ is Shane Black’s newest film, and boy oh boy, what an amazing job he did.
Our story follows two private investigators, Jackson Healy (Crowe) and Holland March (Gosling), on the path to finding a missing girl named Amelia, who for one reason or another has been linked to the death of several prominent actors in the porn industry.
Right from the get-go, the audience is fully immersed into 1970’s Las Angeles; the color and font of the writing in the intro sequence, the playback of Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone, the cars, the palm trees, the smog and the overall vibe. For the complete duration of ‘The Nice Guys’, I felt like I was authentically experiencing the 70’s, a decade about which I have heard and seen so much, but perhaps until now have never properly encountered.
What begins as a fiery relationship between our two ‘guys’, our duo are instantly turned into men on a mission, seeking the truth, some blood, and a big stack of cash.
Well, after Healy beats the crap out of March. As much as he’d like to think he is, Crowe’s character isn’t an actual PI, but rather muscle and brawn that’s hired to get some sweet, cold revenge. He is a brass-knuckle wearing, get-the-job-done kind of man. Gosling’s character, however, is an actual PI, and there was a constant vacillation regarding his credibility. The Hitler jokes he pulled were far closer to the laugh-out-loud end of the spectrum than the offensive and inappropriate end, his drunkenness was utterly hilarious and sadly relatable, and surprisingly, he somehow managed to achieve some rather respectable results in his field work.
Gosling’s daughter hit the ball out of the park. Let’s be honest. For the most part, kids in movies just aren’t spectacular. But, on the very rare occasion, a young actor gives a performance that restores your in the future of the film industry. Jacob Tremblay from ‘Room’ was 2015’s shining child performance. Played by Angourie Rice, Holly March is smart, mature, capable of holding her own, stands up to menacing antagonists and had a marvelously natural way of embedding adult humor into her role; this will be the 2016 version of Tremblay, without a doubt.
The film ebbs and flows from scene to scene, so you’re never too sure what’s coming next.
The shifting from savage beatdowns and fights to comedic character development and conversations was stellar. Do be warned; there is some heavy, action-packed violence thrown into this movie, so expect gore, guns and difficult to watch deaths. The
While the main premise of ‘The Nice Guys’ was our team being on the prowl for the missing lady, I enjoyed soaking up the awesome chemistry of Gosling and Crowe as they chatted away, often disagreeing and having jested banter. In the final act of the film, once Amelia’s mother was involved, the magic and mystery shrouding her facade, existence and whereabouts were gone. To my discontent, her mother’s position of power conveniently paved the way for Amelia’s gathering of troops and little rebellion. The political advocacy of Amelia and her activist counterparts was a drag to endure and actually became quite frustrating, annoyingly detaching the audience from what we really wanted to see.
It is nice to having Shane Black back at the helm of writing a film. Undeniably, there are elements and traces of his earlier works in this film, especially that of 2005’s ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ and even the classic ‘Lethal Weapon’. He is the master of buddy-cop movies.
One of my only gripes about the film was the main henchman for Judith Kuttner (Kim Basinger), Amelia’s mother. This man was simply invincible; almost nothing could stop him on his path to wreaking havoc and no matter what happened, whether he was beaten to the ground or shot at, he always got back up with that irritating smile and facial expression.
There is a lot to enjoy in ‘The Nice Guys’.
If you appreciate good action, comedy, and absolutely top-notch writing, this is the film for you this weekend. If quotes and one-liners are your thing, too, then trust me, there is no shortage of memorable gems in this.
My Rating: 8/10
“You’re the world’s worst detectives.”