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I'm sure this film is going to divide audiences, in the same way that
It's 1977 Los Angeles. Star Wars has premiered. Disco is in full swing. And porn star Misty Mountains has just died (spectacularly). It's pretty disturbing then that dodgy licensed private investigator Holland March (Ryan Gosling) has been hired two days later to find Misty by the slightly kooky Mrs Glenn (Lois Smith, the equally kooky doctor in "Minority Report") who saw her through the windows of Misty's home. Never one to turn down a pay check, Holland takes the case and the trail leads him to search for a missing girl called Amelia (Margaret Qualley). This leads him right into the substantial fists of the 'heavy for hire' Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe), who's been hired by Amelia NOT to be found. But it's clear that Amelia is at the centre of a tornado of intrigue, since her mother Judith (Kim Basinger) is head of the Justice department and there are some heavies from New York and Detroit looking for Amelia too.
As the film's tag-line admits "The Nice Guys" are "far from nice", and this is a sort of bromance buddy movie of the likes of "Lethal Weapon". (And that comparison is 100% valid since - and I honestly discovered this after I wrote that - director Shane Black ("Iron Man 3") got into cinema by writing the screenplay for the original "Lethal Weapon" back in 1987). But "The Nice Guys" has an edge that those films of the 80's couldn't have got away with. Subtle it ain't. There is a lot of violence, a bit of 70's porn and some fruity language that sensitive viewers may find offensive. (All in all, it's a bit of a surprise that it got away with a '15' certificate in the UK).
But it's also insanely funny at times. Some of the sight gags are laugh out loud material (and I don't tend to act on that often in a packed cinema). You might recall in "Diamond's Are Forever" that a Vegas hood tosses Plenty O' Toole out of Bond's hotel window. "Good Shot" quips Bond. "I didn't know there was a pool down there" responds the hoodlum. The basics of this scene are given a fresh and wonderfully gory rework that is truly memorable.
Gosling and Crowe have great chemistry together (although the degree of acting required by Crowe is debatable: he looks and acts like he seems to in most media interviews!) Some of their dialogue appears distinctly ad-libbed, which shows how comfortable they were with the roles. And Matt Bomer and Beau Knapp make memorably crazed villains. A role that unfortunately does irritate is Qualley's: the character of Amelia is supposed to be a bit crazed, but her speaking part is 120% off the scale.
The acting star of the show though is young Australian Angourie Rice as Holland's morally-centred and bright daughter Holly, who steals just about every scene she's in. A young lady to watch for the future.
1970's LA is nicely realised, with nice little subliminal drop-in shots: a Jaws 2 poster; Tower Records; the original Hollywood Tower Hotel. And the film naturally attracts some banging' 70's tunes to the soundtrack, with Al Green peerless over the closing titles.
But it's not perfect. The plot is quite impenetrable (I'm still unclear exactly what the relationship between Misty and Amelia was). And Black's screenplay (written with Anthony Bagarozzi) over-eggs the pudding of the final showdown scene. But while it won't be to everyone's tastes, I thought it was a blast from beginning to end: a guilty pleasure of bad taste that begs for a sequel. I would go to see the Gosling/Crowe show again. One of the most entertaining films of the year so far.
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The Nice Guys represents the buddy movie genre at its best. Shane Black is a excellent director and a brilliant writer. He knows how to create hilarious characters and how to put them in absurd scenes absurd in a comic way. The gags are all unexpected; I was constantly asking myself "What the hell is going on?", and then burst into laughter. The plot could seem weird at the beginning, but it's not the main point in this movie, it is only used to create a context to the jokes. People in the theater couldn't stop laughing. There is a new and original joke every two minutes. Russell Crowe plays his part very well, but Ryan Gosling's performance is already cult. All is in the look in his eyes, and that stupid expression on his face. Two stupid and impulsive men in an outrageous world full of porn stars and guns, fighting for...money. And truth, of course. Always the old truth about some kind of conspiracy (the only weakness in the movie). Hopefully, Shane Black doesn't insist too much on that and concentrates himself on the constant jokes. I guarantee you, you will laugh a lot. I know I've just watched an excellent movie when I feel sad during the credits, because it's already over. And then, it's just pure happiness.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having divided cinema-goers after entering blockbuster territory with
Iron Man 3, it's refreshing for Shane Black to return to the big screen
with a much smaller scale film in the form of The Nice Guys. Starring
Russell Crowe as hired enforcer Jackson Healy and Ryan Gosling as
private eye Holland March, the plot involves the two attempting to find
a missing girl named Amelia and uncover why several men are trying to
kill her, with the pair soon find themselves caught up in a plot much
bigger than either of them had originally anticipated. Functioning
essentially as a 'buddy movie' which plays out as a neo-noir, The Nice
Guys is a genre pairing that works beautifully thanks to the central
performances and Black's script which is equal parts hilarious and
Set in 1977 Los Angeles, The Nice Guys cleverly cements itself within the period that the story takes place by referencing actual events. With the city being plagued by smog throughout the 1970s, car companies were urged to attach catalytic converters to their newer vehicles in an attempt to reduce pollution, and it's these facts that Black chooses to revolve his narrative around, as well as the growth of the porn industry and institutional corruption. Each of these components work in tandem to create a story which understands it's time period much better than the recent X- Men: Apocalypse, making it feel entirely necessary rather than a narrative gimmick, and allows Black to fully showcase his talents as a writer by utilising a historic period in such an effective way.
No matter how effective this setting is, it wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable had it not been for the characters that inhabit it. Jackson Healy and Holland March may occupy familiar territory within a buddy movie, but Black's witty dialogue and fantastic performances from his leading men ensure that the film's protagonists never feel stale. Crowe and Gosling prove to be one of the best double acts in recent years, with the former giving his best performance in almost a decade and the latter displaying the full range of his comedic talents after dabbling with comedy in The Big Short and Crazy, Stupid, Love. Together, their characters exist as a flawed odd couple who manage to bring out the best in each other a trope of the buddy movie yet the way in which Black presents both them and their budding friendship/partnership is completely believable and hilarious.
It's this hilarity that is present throughout the clever narrative that elevates The Nice Guys above recent buddy movies such as Ride Along, proving that films of this genre can have brains and humour instead of just the latter. Mixing slapstick with physical comedy and witty dialogue, Black has created a film which should appeal to a wide variety of people no matter what tickles their funny bone, and do so while telling an often complex tale of corruption in 1970s LA. It's this mix of comedic stylings that provides levity to some of the more violent scenes featured within the film and Black makes sure that the jokes are never too quippy or predictable at any point.
Unpredictability may be a dirty word in Hollywood yet here, it greatly helps the film in terms of both the humour and the plot. As good and as funny as the two leads are, it's Angourie Rice that steals many of the best lines as March's daughter, Holly, which may very well be the most surprising aspect of the film. Though only thirteen, Holly is presented as being much more efficient than her father and often exists as his guiding light when his problem with alcohol gets the better of him, and as a young actress, Rice displays an incredible amount of composure amongst two of Hollywood's leading men. Plot wise, there's several twists and turns within the narrative that allows the audience to discover things as the characters do, which aids the mystery within the plot and ensures that each revelation is met with surprise from both those on screen and in the cinema.
If there's one flaw to be found within The Nice Guys, however, it does also relate to the plot. While Black's script is clever, there are times when viewers may get a little bit lost as the investigation unfolds. This is partly due to Black's reluctance to include exposition heavy scenes which is, for the most part, a smart technique but one that can be troublesome in a film such as this. Filmmakers should never rely too much on exposition in order to tell a compelling story I'm looking at you, Nolan but if it is used wisely and incorporated subtly, it can be a great help when connecting the dots that make up the plot. A scene towards the end of the film that reveals the big picture to the characters and the audience does feature exposition that doesn't feel too heavy handed, proving that Black is capable of providing information through dialogue that sounds natural.
Thankfully, the scene in question brings viewers up to speed before the thrilling, and often explosive, finale at the Los Angles Auto Show which provides a satisfying conclusion to the events that preceded it. With a new Predator on the cards for Black in the very near future, it's a pleasure to see him deliver a smaller film before he returns to blockbuster territory and reminds us all just how enjoyable a night at the cinema can be.
A comedy with brains, Black's latest benefits from a superb script and great performances from Crowe, Gosling, and it's secondary cast members. When it comes to value for money this summer, you'll be hard pressed to find a film that can offer it quite like The Nice Guys does.
I'll admit that I am unfamiliar with most of Shane Black's original works, watching The Nice Guys made me want to go back and take a look at his earlier films. The characters were well written, even better cast, and fit well with the theme of the film. There was rare a dull moment, it seemed I was either enjoying the dark comedic tone, or getting engaged in the plot. While the first two thirds of the film seemed excellent, the writers set themselves up for a fantastic finish, but were unable to capitalize on that potential. The script seemed to suddenly turn very basic, with things "falling" into place almost too miraculously to be true. I never felt like I had truly been given an ending worthy of a classic detective story, but the fast pace of the film and humor was enough to make it very enjoyable.
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!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A movie-like thing masquerading as a period noir buddy cop comedy. I've
read a number of reviews so far and one thing that almost everyone
agrees on, even those who like the movie, is that the screenplay is a
big hot mess. There is no momentum to the story, which is somehow both
predictable and unfocused. As soon as Kim Bassinger's character shows
up we know where this is all going but who cares anyway? The movie
attempts to swerve towards the broadly comic and surreal but is not
inspired enough to revel in its own fun and allow the audience to
forgive the meandering and ultimately nonsensical plot for the window
dressing that it is.
The characters lack sharp definition and development. Gosling and Crowe give whatever glimmer of hope there is to this movie but the material is not worthy. They may have been miscast but its almost impossible to tell due to the writing. Their characters are not very likable, consistent or distinguishable from each other(important with odd couple dynamics).
Supporting characters are not the fun colorful characters one would hope to have from such a movie. Gosling's daughter character is played by a talented young actress but unfortunately this is one of the worst elements of the movie. The child character who behaves like an adult is a cringe worthy staple of Hollywood and that is exactly what we get with in this movie. And why in a buddy cop movie are you focusing so much attention on buddy cop's 12 year old daughter? Why?? You could have a romantic interest or a fun villain but no, we get a third wheel Nancy Drew character.
From the beginning the daughter character is forced into the plot like this is a four quadrant family friendly comedy and I inwardly groaned as I realized that I was going to have to live with this decision by the screenwriters. This film has a rather bizarre obsession with children and even weaves in inappropriate porn jokes and adult situations with children in ways that I found off- putting, and I love South Park and edgy humor involving kids so that's saying something.
The movie is too scattershot and all over the place. Worst of all, its not very funny. There are maybe three moments in the movie that are chuckle worthy and they are featured in the trailer. The filmmaker has fun with the 1977 setting but this movie could have taken place in 2016 or 2026 or 2177, it doesn't matter.
The Nice Guys is pretty much a buddy cop comedy, except instead of
cops, they're a private investigator and a contract tough guy who find
themselves both looking for the same girl, who's gotten herself wrapped
up in political and pornographic intrigue. While there are a number of
action sequences, The Nice Guys is focused more on delivering humour
and jokes based around a couple of reasonably well-developed characters
and a mystery that's a little absurd and off- the-wall.
The comedy on offer here is quality stuff. The Nice Guys isn't just the latest Apatow or Rogen production that seems to just recycle jokes from other movies. Many of the jokes are well- thought out and some of them are actually clever. There's also a number of more slapstick moments, but none of them come as hammy, including the sight of Ryan Gosling fumbling with his gun and cigarette while sat in a cubicle. The comedy can be a little dark at times though, so if you like lighter laughs, The Nice Guys probably isn't your kind of movie. On that note, I was quite surprised at the amount of violence, gore, and nudity in play. Thankfully it's only gratuitous when it needs to be (which in this movie basically means for comedic effect). People do die, sometimes gruesomely, and there are a lot of boobs and constant talk of sex and pornography, sometimes from kids. Again if these kinds of things offend your soft heart, avoid The Nice Guys.
Talking of kids in this movie, one of the earliest lines refers to how kids these days know too much and act too grown up. This is a subtle theme of the entire movie. The line in question refers to a thirteen year old girl who chats up a guy three times her age for some weed, and another scene has a kid on a bike talking about his big dick, but more prominently is Angourie Rice who plays Holly, the PI's daughter, and shows a massive amount of maturity in every scene, often showing up her father in smarts. I would love to see a sequel set a number of years ahead where we follow a grown up Holly continuing her father's work.
The father himself, Holland March, is Ryan Gosling on top form. Most of the roles I'd seen him play were super serious ones, and his mumbling, tortured personas, while fantastic, started to grate. Here he is completely different. He's a silly, fumbling idiot a lot of the time, and provides the most laughs. His sense of comedy timing is perfect, and his slapstick antics are flat-out hilarious. That's not to mean that he plays the fool. In a lesser actors hands, that's exactly how March's character would have come across, but Gosling manages to balance all the over-the-top comedy with something a bit more grounded. While he shows a lot of signs of idiocy, he also shows some intelligence that helps us believe his role as a father and detective. Unfortunately I can't level the same praise on Russell Crowe who I can't decide whether he phoned it in for the paycheck, or tried too hard. When it comes to comedy, Crowe is Gosling's opposite; almost entirely unfunny, even when his lines do a lot of the legwork for him. He's not a complete failure, but he looks awkward and uncomfortable more times than he doesn't. Margaret Qualley as the missing girl is also a bit of a swing and a miss. Her hysteric lunacy comes off more as a hormonal teenager shouting things she doesn't really mean, than a girl who believes fully in her claims and is determined for the world to know what she does. Thankfully there's Keith David, Matt Bomer, and Beau Knapp who more than make up for her in the supporting side of things.
I never really laugh out loud when I'm by myself, especially in the cinema, but The Nice Guys had me chuckling heartily with alarming frequency. It's not a perfect movie, not even a perfect comedy, but it's right up there amongst the best comedies, for certain. I found it hilarious, and that's all that really mattered. I give it a solid 8/10 and would recommend.
I Really liked this movie,all the way up until shortly after the one
hour mark. Than it just took a 180 turn for the worse,and ended up
getting really really stupid.Which was quite annoying.
In the beginning it was funny and charming and full of good quips back and forth, between the two leads.
Some of the situations was a bit over the top,but you could live with em,cause the rest of the movie held up fine. But than comes the one hour mark,and things start going down hill. Up until now,Russel has been the smart one and Ryan was the dorky drunk guy. But than suddenly they both turn into dumb and dumber.And that just ruined it for me.After that I lost total interest in the movie.
'70s detective movie starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, directed by Kiss Kiss Bang Bang's Shane Black. It is a ton of fun. There's definitely something missing that I'm not quite able to put my finger on - it really feels like it should be an all-time classic, but ends up falling short. There's some weaknesses in the script, like Black isn't quite able to make his themes work entirely. It has so much great stuff in it, though. The two leads are ace, both giving near-career best performances. Angourie Rice is also excellent as Gosling's teenage daughter. They do fail to establish a great antagonist, though bad guys Matt Bomer, Keith David and Beau Knapp are all memorable. Others who will remain nameless aren't as good. The film is very funny, thankfully, with Crowe and Gosling bouncing off each other nicely. It is true most of the best bits were given away in the film's two trailers. If you haven't seen them, you might enjoy this even more than I did. I'd definitely recommend it either way.
Shane Black doing what he excels at the most and doing it at the very
best: "The Nice Guys" is funny, smart, action packed, violent,
irreverent, thrilling and entertaining all at the same time without
ever having tonal shift problems, it molds so many elements into one
cohesive package that will give you a blast at the cinema and won't
alienate you even with the sudden appearance of a giant talking bug in
What has to be addressed immediately is the fact that if there was ever a prize for best on-screen chemistry for 2016 the race is already over, Crowe and Gosling light up the frame with an overwhelming energy, this is something we haven't seen in quite some time. Their job might be overlooked and discounted by some, but this is nothing short of genius, the way in which these two actors bring to life this story is illuminating, their timing, their banter, their personal dynamic, it is all in the brilliant script, but what the two of them do is elevate it to levels that I think not even Shane Black could have ever imagined. I mean they just had to look at each other for me to curl up laughing stupid. They don't have a false beat. And when you try to look back and think of who was better as soon as you point to one, you feel like you've made the wrong choice. Crowe's stoicism is played to perfection and when he boils up it pays off incredibly. Then there's Gosling who is recently on a roll; he was a highlight of "The Big Short" and showed comedic chops I didn't know he had, then comes this film and if there was ever any doubt of his comedic timing believe me is dead. The way he moves is enough to make you marvel and laugh at what he's doing, he has multiple moments of physical comedy that had me rolling on the floor, not to mention his witty, smart-ass dialogue that he nails.
And we aren't even halfway done with the cast yet, everybody in this film not only is cast perfectly, but kills it. Kim Basinger's casting as a callback to "L.A. Confidential" is a great choice, but then getting into the more important characters: Matt Bomer is terrifying as the cold blooded killer and it is so important to be so if you want to give the audience catharsis when the final showdown happens. It is great to see Keith David again on screen in this kind of supporting character role that he always, unequivocally shines in, he is truly one of the bests in my opinion, there isn't wrong he can do. Finally Angourie Rice is a revelation, she steels the movie from Crowe and Gosling so well it feels like this movie is about the three of them together.
Now, all of these actors get the chance to do such amazingly inspired work thanks to Shane Black. His screenplay presents us to a group of characters that are brilliantly well written and developed and tied into a plot that is absorbing and crazy. I don't know if this film is better written or directed because the two crafts combine seamlessly in this picture. There are so many moving elements and Black keeps up with all of them without ever leaving the audience behind or making them loose interest. moreover the way the setting is used is breathtaking and I mean that literally. He makes these characters move through Los Angeles and between a million easter eggs that I'm sure I missed half of, the locations give the film a whole other level of fascination, it has one of the best party scenes in recent memory. The greatness lies in the fact that story and setting feed each other and couldn't be taken apart, bringing to life a visual feast for the eyes that is grounded in story and character.
And there's still much to talk about: soundtrack, action and fight scenes, pace, cinematography, sound, all of these elements deserve a paragraph on their own. The excellence of filmaking in display here is in my opinion really remarkable. Does it have faults? Or course: it can occasionally digress into 70s visual extravaganza just for the sake of it, the plot is thrilling and all, yet come to really think of it, unfortunately, it comes apart slightly too easily, but these are all details that have to be addressed, yet they did not take away from the overall experience which is one of the funniest and most thrilling rides of the year that I cannot wait to check out again in the theater with a bunch of friend.
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