Shane Black, please write and direct more often. Russell Crowe, please do more action movies. Ryan Gosling, please, please, PLEASE do more comedies!
“The Nice Guys” is a buddy comedy (it is from the guy behind “Lethal Weapon” and “Kiss Kiss, Bang, Bang”), and takes place in the 1970’s. Crowe plays a wannabe-cop named Jackson Healy; Healy’s trying to find purpose in life and settles for being muscle-for-hire. Gosling is a bumbling private detective named Holland March. March is so burned out on life, that he’s fine drinking rather than working.
Healy and March collide after Healy orders March to drop his case in searching for a missing girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley), but quickly partners with March when he’s violently confronted about Amelia’s whereabouts. This leads to both bloody and funny encounters with porn stars, hired guns, politicians, and auto dealers.
“The Nice Guys” is one of the best and funniest movies so far of this year. Like Black’s other movies, it’s filled with highly quotable dialogue (I’m going to be saying, “I’m invincible,” for a while), great physical humor (Gosling willingly throws himself off ledges), and an intriguingly cynical plot.
The movie isn’t just set in the 70’s, it looks and feels like a New-Hollywood film. The score is disco-heavy, the cinematography looks like grainy film stock, and the set pieces and characters are all sleazy. Healy and March are both anti-heroes, but their backstory and dynamic personalities keep “The Nice Guys” going.
Healy knows he’s a bad person and wants to find redemption. March denies being a terrible person while continuing to do terrible things. There is heart in this movie! Like all of Shane Black’s movies, there’s a kid who acts as the adults’ good conscience. That’s Hollie (Angourie Rice), March’s daughter, who bonds with Healy.
I’m not going into further detail about the plot or the humor, but I’ll say that if you’re going to see a movie that’s out right now, see “The Nice Guys!” They don’t make them like this anymore.