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
When Holland March chases mermaids in the aquarium. The scene can be seen In The Right Stuff (1983) with Deke Slayton in the aquarium doing the same, watched by Gus Grissom and Gordon Cooper. See more »
At the bar, when Holland is trying to get Amelia's credit card receipts, he says "I made it myself" while holding his cigarette, and then, in the next angle, the cigarette is magically in his mouth. See more »
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.
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