After months of waiting, I finally got to go watch the film that received the fifth position in my most anticipated films of 2016 list. Written and directed by Shane Black, The Nice Guys is a buddy cop comedy set in 1970’s Los Angeles told very much in the same vein as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was. Like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, here we follow a P.I. (Ryan Gosling) and Russell Crowe’s enforcer as they try to find a missing young girl who is apparently somehow connected to the death of a famous porn star and a pawn in a bigger scheme that seems to involve the highest officials of the judicial party in L.A.
Here we have one of the funniest and most original films of the year and it seems as if everyone skipped over it, very similar to what happened with Black’s previous film of the same style. First, I must say it seems as if Gosling has prohibited himself from having true fun on a movie ever since he did Lars and the Real Girl in 2007, I mean Crazy Stupid Love kind of counts but that was five years ago, ever since he’s been basically tied to mute characters which I personally don’t mind but it is refreshing to see him finally embrace a character like Holland March. Its not only the wit he carries with every Shane Black written line he delivers, but Gosling also does a bunch of really good slapstick comedy involving him tripping and falling over a bunch which would usually be annoying but because it goes hand in hand with the character’s attitude and either moves the plot along or serves as a way to reference a different point in the film every scene highlighting Gosling’s lack of coordination actually delivers with the laugh it should.
The same can be said about Russell Crowe, it was finally time to kick back and relax. As the brawny Jackson Healy, Crowe is the living heart that drives this film. If it weren’t for him, March would be simply scamming elderly women and the missing girl would be long gone. Crowe is the driving force behind the film and even though he seems vastly different from Gosling’s addled private investigator, the two actually have a lot in common which is why they’re chemistry works so perfectly together. Each scene with them is dynamite! Their rapport is that of brotherly love discussing irrelevant topics, they care for each other yet they constantly beat themselves up.
As for the setting of the film, it couldn’t be anymore perfect, 1970’s L.A. With The Nice Guys, Black recreates the days of old, he implants himself in the 70’s vibe and makes visual nods other noire tales told in the same space. As for the plot, like most noire tales, the mystery can get convoluted, examples of this being The Big Sleep and the more satirical approach, The Big Lebowski, the plot is a long rambling string of random events that somehow fit perfectly together even though they shouldn’t, it makes no sense but its perfect.
With all that said, I do have one gripe with the film, Kim Basinger. Don’t get me wrong, Basinger is awesome in Batman or L.A. Confidential, but she just doesn’t work in this film. I get why she’s in it as a tribute type thing, but I would’ve been equally as happy had they replaced her with someone that could actually deliver with the quality of acting seen throughout the rest of the movie.
Still, that doesn’t really devaluate the refreshingly original stance the movie has, the great performances all around and the hilarious nature of it all. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe’s chemistry is simply amazing, Angourie Rice who plays Gosling’s daughter is fantastic, and the rest of the supporting cast deliver with each role attributed, except for the aforementioned. All in all The Nice Guys is awesome, I really hope more people go watch it because it’s a bloody good time in the theater and with that said it receives a 92 out of 100 from me.