Let me preface this by saying, I really like Shane Black. He wrote the first two Lethal Weapon movies, directed Iron Man 3, and wrote and directed a little known movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. If you like neo-noir movies with humor, it has that and more (personal favorite Robert Downey Jr. movie and it has Val Kilmer who is great).
Okay, sorry for sidetracking. Wow. This movie was better than I thought it would be. I remember watching the trailers thinking “oh that was pretty funny. I hope they didn’t just show the funny parts and I know what to expect already”. I was laughing throughout the entire thing.
The movie, set in 1977 Los Angeles, opens up with a monologue by each character, Jackson Healy (played by Russell Crowe) and Holland March (Ryan Gosling). Healy is an enforcer, someone who gets paid to rough people up while March is a private investigator with a drinking problem. Their first interaction comes from Healy beating the crap out of March because March is searching for someone and that certain someone does not want to be found. I do not want to go into the plot too much since I don’t want to risk spoilers, but here’s an extremely simplified version. March is looking for a girl, then Healy needs to help find the girl, then there’s a conspiracy, violence, then boobs, more violence, cussing, and boobs, Matt Bomer as a sociopathic hit man, and violence, and cussing. I don’t have much of a problem with it at all. It’s a great movie which didn’t do well in the box office, so if you’re reading this, go buy tickets and support the movie. It’s a buddy cop(?), thriller, mystery, comedy film that I enjoyed thoroughly.
Let me start off with some of the complaints that I had. I really wish the movie delved a bit more into the backstory of Jackson Healy. I thought he was a great character but not much is really spoken about his past and how he got to the way he is. March got a bit of a backstory which helped add to the character and why he did things his own way. Also, I wish the conspiracy was more elaborated as well. There is a brief introduction to the problem in the beginning of the movie and then bits and pieces of it are mentioned as the movie goes on but they could have gone more in-depth with it. I’m just nitpicking, but it does not take away from the movie as a whole.
The chemistry between Healy, March, and March’s daughter (played by Angourie Rice) is incredible. The three just worked so well and really fed off of each other and it was a joy to see on screen. Crowe and Gosling formed a pretty amazing pairing themselves. Seeing Healy’s penchant for doing the job right and March’s ineptitude is comedy gold. The humor is phenomenal as well. Gosling is especially hilarious in this film but his character also has alot of baggage that is affecting him. Everything that came out of March’s mouth had me cracking up. From the writing/dialogue to the direction of everything, it was a enjoyable throughout. I also thought the movie did a great job of getting the feel of the 70’s from the vibe of the characters to the soundtrack which features Earth, Wind, and Fire, Al Green, Rupert Holmes (although the song that plays is from 1979 two years after the movie takes place, but hey, who’s really paying attention to this? I am. This is called an anachronism), and KISS. There were plenty of LA landmarks that looked how they did in the 70’s and I just really like that bonus touch.
I just have to say, go ahead and catch this movie. It’s considered a “Box Office Bomb” due to the underachieving it did in theaters ticket sales wise, but that can be fixed. The Nice Guys is a great mystery movie filled with intrigue and humor that is propelled by the writing and the acting of the two leads. If I had to describe the movie in a word, it’d be……
…..you thought I was going to say “Nice” didn’t you?
Go watch this movie.
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