Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Nice Guys

Year: 2016
Director: Shane Black
Cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Kim Basinger

Plot: Two private detectives team up to find a girl before she gets killed by people who are after a potentially damaging film she made.

Review: Shane Black, director of Iron Man 3 and writer of Lethal Weapon, has come up with a film that could spawn a sequel if done right.

Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling star as Jackson Healy and Holland March respectively, two private eyes who run into each other when March is hired to find a girl called Amelia as Healy is hired by the same girl to keep people off her trail. When Healy gets roughed up by two thugs looking for her, he decides to team up with March and find her before the thugs do. In doing so, they uncover a plot that involves pornography and the car industry.

By setting the film in the 70's, Black pretty much fits the story in the right time, as pornography was a huge thing during that era. Props should be given to the production design team for successfully making the film look authentic, from cars to fashion to TV shows etc. But the real appeal of The Nice Guys is the script, which is filled with loads of humor, and Crowe and Gosling nail nearly every scene with the sharp-witted dialogue.

Speaking of Crowe and Gosling, they might be the funniest action comedy duo since Riggs and Murtaugh. Crowe's Healy is the serious one, who has no problems knocking or punching people if he has to, and poor Gosling is one of them. Gosling on the other hand, plays March as a bumbling P.I. with less than honorable values, but isn't a scumbag at all. Together, the duo make the perfect team as they chase one lead after another, getting into fisticuffs and shootouts along the way. Kudos to Black for brilliantly finding a way to insert humor between the duo even during moments when you least expect it, and also knowing when to pull back when he attempts a dramatic scene.

Special mention goes out to young actress Angourie Rice who plays Gosling's daughter Holly. Holly is interesting indeed, being a 13 year old that drives her dad around in their car and is smart enough to get herself out of trouble as easily as she steps into it. Rice is phenomenal in the role, she will be awesome someday. Kim Basinger has a minor role as Amelia's mother who is involved with their case, while Matt Bomer gets to play a hitman that trades bullets with our heroes.

Despite the great script and story, it does feel at times that Black is over-complicating the film by throwing in twists and elements that don't work that well. And the cops always arrive after everything is over, which is strange. Even stranger is how Healy and March don't end up in jail with all the things they get involved in here.

But hey, good action comedies don't come around very often. The Nice Guys is a solid watch if you're looking for an R rated comedy that doesn't involve raunchy humor. (7/10)   

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