The Nice Guys
Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice
Written and directed by Shane Black
Warner Brothers (2016) 116 minutes
There will be a sequel to The Nice Guys. At least that is what one of the special features on the Blu-ray version of this noir comedy strongly suggests. That is way cool and I can’t wait. The Nice Guys is a superb mix of the buddy movie and film noir. Something like Chinatown meets the first two Lethal Weapon (also written by Shane Black who co-wrote and directed this movie) though saying The Nice Guys is like something else just takes away from how fun and original it is.
Holland March (Ryan Gosling) plays a single dad and bumbling detective who has been hired by a little old lady to find her niece, famous porn star Misty Mountain who died at the beginning of the movie in a scene that sets the tone to how over the top funny and dark this movie is. This gets him in the crosshairs of enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) who is hired by a girl named Amelia to get March off her back. Amelia thinks March is after her because she is a live ringer for Misty Mountains. If you think all this is a bit convoluted, there is the added bonus that at the heart of the Amelia mystery is a missing movie everybody is killed about and all the bad guys are after.
After Healy is attacked by two thugs looking for Amelia, he decides teaming up with March will help him find the guys who attacked him. Healy’s motivation is Big Lebowskiesque. One of the thugs killed his fish.
The Nice Guys works for many, many reasons. One is it is set in 1977 during the oil crisis so Shane Black can tip a bit of a hat to blacksploitation flicks and justify the whole porn is bad and big auto is conspiring against the catalytic converter part of the plot that both end up being important elements. Another is Angourie Rice who plays Holland March’s daughter and the Nancy Drew-like character she plays.
Mostly The Nice Guys work because of Gosling and Crowe’s chemistry, a whole mess of perfect little moments like the die-in in front if city hall (“We can’t talk to you, we’re dead”), Nixon as the angel of death, or the Chaplinesque going after the kicked hat scene involving a film can, and other great physical comedy by Gossling (who channels the late great Lou Costello in one scene), and just perfectly over the top violence.
I have not enjoyed a movie as much as I’ve enjoyed The Nice Guys in one hell of a long time.
Special features on The Nice Guys Blu-ray are a behind the scenes and a making of. Not much, really.
IMDB states Black is working on a Doc Savage movie. I can’t bloody wait to see that one too.