The Nice Guys
Based in the smog filled city of Los Angeles in 1977, Holland March (Ryan Gosling) an erratic but licensed private investigator is hired to find out more information on the mysterious death surrounding porn star Misty Mountains. This case leads to him having to find a young girl named Amelia, but this brings him across the path of the brass knuckle wearing Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe). The two detectives pair up when Amelia vanishes, and the case begins to grow deeper when the unlikely pair find out they aren’t the only ones looking for Amelia.
Writer/Directer Shane Black creates what looked like to be one of the funnest films of the year, filled with familiar but genuinely funny content. That’s what the trailer shows us, and it’s fantastic, oddly enough the film itself captures everything in the trailer, but we are given a little more than promised. The case they were on ran deeper than just finding a missing girl, but other players got involved, even a possible government conspiracy. While all this is great, and while I think how they incorporated film-making in this mystery was unique, it felt a little too silly. I was engaged with story but perhaps that was only because that meant i’d see screen time with Gosling and Crowe. You could say this film reached for something bigger than expected but in doing that, they could have raised the bar higher. By this I mean the car show, for the location of this big mystery was underwhelming.
Bringing it back to Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. They had great chemistry together. Shane Black played a lot with Crowe finding amusement in the unusual and unpredictable actions that Gosling par took in. I loved every single moment they had on screen; they definitely carried the film. Though individually, Crowe was really great in this hardened detective role; a lot of my friends dig his performances, and I can see why now. Interestingly enough, Ryan Gosling was overacting in this film. I have yet to conclude whether this was intended for, or if it was misdirection that he received from the director. It was either a complete hit or miss, for example, the whole sequence with the girl and rolling down the hill was brilliant, however when he saw the big reveal and had to get the attention of Crowe, the overacting was displeasing. If that could have been cut down, It would have been more effective but the joke kept dragging on, and this happens a few times in the movie which is unfortunate. Although in his defense, Gosling has gone from Drive, Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond The Pines, and finally to The Nice Guys. For him to be able to play all these various characters with an incredibly different range of emotions, is noteworthy, and nobody is talking about it. The notion that Gosling plays the same roles is a joke, but unfortunately some see otherwise.
The biggest disappointment of this film was easily the character of Amelia (Margaret Qualley), and once again I can’t tell if her performance was intended to be overacting or if it was simply poor direction, but all the scenes in the film with her were unbearable asides from the portion creepy villain John Boy (Matt Bomer). On the contrary another young actress, Angourie Rice was brilliant as Holland March’s daughter Holly. She was in full control and dominated her role. She also provided for a couple of the few emotional moments of the film, so that’s good to see from a young actress.
Another interesting aspect of this film was how frequent the “happy accidents” were. There was many, many moments where a silly mistake drastically advanced the plot forward. On most occasions it occurred during the most funniest moments of the film, so I can’t complain, however I could see why a person could find that off-putting. I may have mentioned a lot about the film’s flaws, but I did find this movie enjoyable. There were a ton of moments that had me laughing out loud, which is rare because I don’t respond well to comedy. It’s hard to talk about how they utilized the porn industry into the mystery but it was a lot of fun. The overall look of Los Angeles in the 70s which complemented by the 2.35 :1 aspect ratio, and the customs for this film had me fully on board from the start.
Overall, The Nice Guys is a decent flick, but could have been a really good flick. From Crowe’s household ethics with criminals to Gosling feeling invincible, there is a lot to love here. Although if Shane Black could have escalated things a little more, make the mystery a tad more engaging, and have given more character development to our leads, then I would be fully praising this film, but nonetheless, The Nice Guys is an enjoyable film to watch.
My Rating: ★★★ / ★★★★★
Dir. Shane Black
IMDb 7.9/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 82%
So you’re telling me you made a porno where the plot is the point?