Set against the backdrop of 1977 Los Angeles, The Nice Guys opens when single father and licensed PI Holland March (Gosling) is hired to investigate the apparent suicide of famous porn star Misty Mountains. As the trail leads him to track down a girl named Amelia (Qualley), he encounters less licensed and less hands-off private eye Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe) and his brass knuckles, both hired by the young hippie. However, the situation takes a turn for the worse when Amelia vanishes and it becomes apparent that March wasn't the only party interested. As both men are forced to team up, they'll have to take on a world filled with eccentric goons, strippers dressed as mermaids and even a possible government conspiracy. Written by
The Nice Guys is written and directed by Shane Black and stars Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as two detectives who try to solve a case regarding a missing girl and the death of a porn actress in Los Angeles during the 70s.
I'm a big Shane Black fan ever since my childhood, with Lethal Weapon being one of my all-time favorites. After that I followed his career, and I have to say, he is a really great writer/director. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is another great movie which he wrote and directed which some might argue it brought Robert Downey Jr. back in the center of the attention, and before the whole Marvel business started. Black is great at writing buddy comedies with crime and mystery touches and The Nice Guys is one of his best works to date.
First of all, the two main actors, Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, have an amazing on-screen chemistry. Crowe plays Jackson Healy, a by-the-book though guy enforcer type who you call when want to have someone taken care of. Crowe is now over 50 in real life, his age is starting to show, but he embraces that completely in this film. He is a little overweight and some of the action scenes he pulls might not look that believable, but he is absolutely perfect in this role. Ryan Gosling took a break from the more silent type roles (Drive, Place Beyond the Bines) which were becoming a bit too much for me and instead takes a comedic turn in this movie. He has some of the funniest lines, he gets in the craziest situations and yet there's also a dark side to him, having some drinking problems and at the same time trying to raise his daughter (Angouire Rice), who is wise beyond her years.
The story itself is not the most original and unique, it doesn't really break new ground and you can solve the mystery on your own while watching the movie. As soon as one character was introduced, I immediately put the clues together. But that's okay, it doesn't really need to do all those things. We were not promised some original concept or never before seen plot, we were promised an action comedy that offers two great characters and a very clever script.
What I truly love about this movie is how simple it actually is. It's not part of a huge franchise, it's not a CGI fest, there are no superheroes, there are no flying cars, we just follow two guys trying to solve a mystery. It really goes back to the 80-90s era, when we had some great action-comedies like the Lethal Weapon franchise or Beverly Hills Cop. It's a nice breath of fresh air with some clever dialogue, noir elements, good action and two perfect stars in the main roles. The Nice Guys is a nice surprise and it deserves a 9 out of 10!
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