The Nice Guys
The Nice Guys is without a doubt Shane Black's best film yet, thanks to the one-two punch of Black's witty script and Gosling/Crowe's fantastic performances. It's a lovable piece of 70s buddy cop cinema that's insanely funny and energetic.
Director Shane Black (Iron Man 3) goes retro in his latest buddy cop film The Nice Guys, starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as a mismatched pair of goofball private investigators that are tasked with the mission of tracking down a missing lady. The Nice Guys is the perfect slice of homage pie, blending together Black’s air-tight comedic writing with two energetic and engaging performances from Crowe and Gosling.
The Nice Guys looks and feels like a film lifted directly from the 70s, with fuzzy filters and interesting panning shots to help set the mood, while Crowe and Gosling adventure through a bright and colorful city by nightfall. It’s a film that Black clearly spent a lot of time crafting and ensuring its aesthetics from the ground up and boy does it pay off. It has a sort of easy-going feel about it that you just can’t shake.
Russell Crowe packs on a few pounds as Jackson Healy — the muscle of the oddball team. Healy may look big and tough on the outside, but he’s also sweet and enduring. He doesn’t just do his job for the money, but instead to have that sense of usefulness. He’s simply struggling with trying to find his place in the world and investigating sort of helps him find his way, despite the corruption and lies that he’s constantly sifting through.
Ryan Gosling‘s Holland March is mostly a drunk P.I. with an eye for details. He may seem like the world’s biggest idiot, but he’s actually a caring father that simply hasn’t had the best of luck in recent memory. Gosling’s body language really does tell the story of March more than any piece of dialogue ever could. He’s just so good at expressing his feelings through his posture and mannerisms. This might be one of his most memorable roles yet.
Black’s script slowly peels back at both March and Healy in a way that humanizes them, yet still has us rooting for them to do something completely insane. Black has been known to write strong duo roles and The Nice Guys doesn’t alter that reputation. The film rides on Gosling and Crowe’s chemistry and general likability.
That doesn’t go without saying that there are plenty of supporting roles that manage to poke out and steal a bit of spotlight. I’m mostly talking about Angourie Rice, playing the daughter of Gosling’s March. Rice’s character Holly manages to hold her own just fine when put under the same pressure as pros like Gosling and Crowe. It’s refreshing watching what could have been a minor role for a kid end up being one of the most useful and amusing roles of the film. It gives the relationship between March and his daughter an extra layer of dynamic.
The Nice Guys is one hell of a good time. It blends together some of Black’s strongest writing yet, with a duo of memorable performances from both Gosling and Crowe. The film’s pitch black comedy is balanced with a handful of action sequences that are both bloody and sometimes even brutal.
The film runs a tad too long, but it’s unlikely that you’ll get too hung up on that fact, because Gosling and Crowe manage to keep things beyond interesting from start to finish. I have a strong feeling that The Nice Guys is going to slide under the radar for a lot of people this summer, but trust me when I say that it’s the funniest film of the year so far and is probably going to end up being one of the biggest highlights of the summer.
It’s just that good.