The Nice Guys review
The Nice Guys takes place ten years before I was born. Though I was technically alive in the 1980’s, I’ve always seen myself as something of a nineties child. I think it’s because of the media I was watching. I was heavily into the Nickelodeon channel and the 1990’s fast evolution into the computer age. The reason I bring this up is that one’s preference of culture can definitely define the era they were raised in. My older brother may have been born in 1985, but he has a love affair of the 1970’s. He likes a lot of the television shows from that time like Dukes of Hazzard and Starsky & Hutch.
While I’m not that much of a nostalgic individual, I can see some of the appeal of the seventies. There is something of a bright but gritty combination that’s unique. A lot of that had to do with the darker content that was coming out now that the previous restrictions that were present from old studio system were lifted. The Nice Guys returns to this era, giving us a buddy-buddy mystery that’s in vein of something that’s closer to the seventies cop shows like The Rockford Files…only with an emphasis on comedy.
In the late seventies, adult film star Misty Mountains is killed in a car crash. The aunt of this star hires private investigator Holland March (played by Ryan Gosling) to find a missing girl named Amelia Kuther (played by Margaret Qualley). Amelia, however, does not want to be found and hires an enforcer Jackson Healy (played by Russell Crowe) to try and intimidate Holland to stop trying to find her. Jackson is something of a wannabe detective who may be better at it then Holland, who is an alcoholic klutz. When Jackson encounters and escapes two thugs looking for Amelia, he decides to team up with Holland to find Amelia before the bad guys can.
The two end up being assisted by Holland’s teenage daughter Holly (played by Angourie Rice) who seems to be the only one to truly read things between the lines. Holland and Jackson end up going from a porn producer’s party in Bel Air to an air pollution protest. It’s there they discover that Amelia was making an experimental movie to work with the air pollution protesters, leading into suspicions into the adult film industry, Detroit auto industry, and the Los Angeles city government.
While it sounds like a lot to take in, The Nice Guys not only has an interesting mystery, it is also a great buddy-buddy comedy. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling make a surprising good team, given how well they establish Crowe as the rough guy and Gosling as the idiot (a role I never expected him to play). Now if you want to know who had the best performance, that honor goes to young Angourie who played Holly. She may have been smart and curious about the mystery that her father was a part of, but she still acted like a child. Why is it that few movies that involve kids really let them act like kids?
Shane Black wrote and directed this very enjoyable film. You can see a lot of Lethal Weapon’s same buddy cop mentality, though I’d argue there’s something of a “meaner” feeling. A lot of that might have to do with the fact that our heroes are not cops, but private investigators. It also has to do with it’s 1970’s setting which is so rich in it’s own world, that I’d be surprised if the film isn’t awarded for it’s production design.
I’ll give this five cookie jars out of five. The Nice Guys is already guaranteed a spot as one of my favorites of the year. Shane Black is clearly one of the best writer’s in Hollywood and I’m glad to see studio’s like Warner Brothers taking a chance on him to let him make whatever he wants. I can’t summarize enough with how much fun this original story is. Please see The Nice Guys to support more new content from Hollywood!