The Nice Guys

(2016)

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Title:
The Nice Guys
Release Date:
15th May 2016
Runtime:
116 min
MPAA Rating:
R
Genres:
Directors:
Shane Black
Writers:
Anthony Bagarozzi, Shane Black
Languages:
English
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p

Storyline

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.

Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 91%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 81%
IMDb Rating 7.7

Casts

Angourie Rice as Holly March
Margaret Qualley as Amelia Kuttner
Matt Bomer as John Boy
Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy
Ryan Gosling as Holland March

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Bradley Shea 5th June, 2016

A witty, neo-noir caper

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 clever. 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.

Reviewed by WinterbornTM 4th June, 2016

Great Movie

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!

Reviewed by zetes 28th May, 2016

A tad disappointing given the fantastic trailers (which spoiled the film a little), but still a lot of fun

'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.

Reviewed by bob-the-movie-man 27th May, 2016

A raucous buddy comedy… and stuff.

I'm sure this film is going to divide audiences, in the same way that "Kingsman" did. 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. Please visit http://bob-the-movie-man.com to see the graphical version of this review and provide feedback on your views. (Thanks).

Reviewed by Robin Wicky 15th May, 2016

Stupidity as an Art of Comedy

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.