RELEASED 2016 RUNTIME 116 MIN LANGUAGE ENGLISH DIRECTION SHANE BLACK SCREENPLAY SHANE BLACK, ANTHONY BAGAROZZI STARRING RUSSELL CROWE, RYAN GOSLING, ANGOURIE RICE, MATT BOMER, MARGARET QUALLEY, KEITH DAVID, KIM BASINGER MUSIC DAVID BUCKLEY, JOHN OTTMAN
The Nice Guys is the new action-comedy by Shane Black who also did Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is an enforcer in 70’s Los Angeles, who gets hired to take care of business. Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a pretty clumsy private detective, who has a teenage daughter, Holly March (Angourie Rice) he is taking care of by himself.
When Jackson’s job and Holland’s case about the death of a famous porn star cross paths, both realize that they can team up and figure out the intrigue behind it and much more.
If you like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang you will immediately recognize Shane Black’s directional style. Witty dialogue and lots of violence distinguish this buddy comedy from most other examples in that genre. We have Shane Black’s signature opening, where our main characters introduce themselves to you and narrate the story forward for a few minutes, as well as the black humor towards a lot of very violent action sequences.
I don’t particularly love Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but find it very enjoyable. Same here. However, the setting of 70’s LA ups it for me because, first, I love LA and, second, I love the 70’s. Bring both ingredients together and you got yourself a winner right there. Mixing in some porn industry, particularly from that time period into the premise, is the icing on the cake. Just something about LA and the 70’s works exceptionally well. There is one section, which may be my favorite set-piece of the movie, where Jackson and Holland attend a pool party which is hosted by insiders of the porn industry. It totally captures the tone and the character of the film perfectly.
To keep it short, the setting gives this movie a certain kind of personality and makes it look very fresh.
The humor in this film is a two sided sword for me. Sometimes I find it incredibly funny and other times it doesn’t really do it for me. Nevertheless, I found myself laughing most of the time because the chemistry between Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling is amazing. Especially Ryan Gosling surprised me, since I haven’t watch many movies where he actually gets to talk a lot. But here he plays a very excentric character who screams, shouts, and whines about every sort of thing. However, he never feels annoying. In fact, both, his and Russell Crowe’s characters play off each other in a perfectly and are probably the best part of the movie. If it wasn’t for their performance, the movie would easily have failed on its nose.
Another actor to praise is the young Angourie Rice. She is fantastic. She plays her part incredibly well. Her character is smart and very much a crucial part of the story. She thinks on her own and helps our main protagonists out on a few occasions and, hence, is a crucial part of the plot and overall enjoyment.
The story of the film is very smart and you need to pay attention because it’s pretty complex for a movie of that kind. There is mystery, intrigue and twists hidden everywhere. However, it never gets to a level where you have to read between the lines to get what’s going on. It’s still simple enough and still has some fun with itself. But that’s what Shane Black does exceptionally well. His writing is very sharp and you can’t help but listen to every word the characters are saying. He handles storytelling in a very interesting way.
That being said, he also loves violence. There is some very funny scenes involving murder and dead bodies and each time somebody dies, it happens in a very humorous way. There is this scene when somebody falls from a balcony and the camera has this perspective where it shows what happens when the body hits the ground. It’s so hilarious and you know you shouldn’t be laughing. But that’s the best thing about Shane Black’s sense of humor. It’s very dark and he does not apologize for anything. Very similar to Quentin Tarantino’s style, but still unique in its own way.
The Nice guys is a one of a kind buddy team-up crime comedy, which is unique and should be enjoyed by everyone who loves cool dialogue, rated R violence and dark humor in a setting that looks fresh and stylish in a grounded way. The acting is stellar across the board and will most likely move Gosling up the ranks and Crowe back into the public eye, while hinting at a bright future for Angourie Rice.
If you are a fan of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, you will end up a fan of The Nice Guys.