Synopsis: Shane Black (Iron Man 3) directs this police drama set in Los Angeles during the 1970s, and centering on a pair of detectives who stumble into a sprawling conspiracy while investigating the alleged suicide of a once-prominent female porn star.(WB)
A mysterious death of a porn star, set in 1970’s Los Angeles, add Ryan Gosling and Russell Crow and you have yourself a hilarious mess. Director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3) writes this slapstick comedic trippy movie in just the outlandish tone you could hope for. There is a lot going on in the “The Nice Guys”(out now on Blu-ray/DVD), but the main crux of it is the oddball partnership between Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe). The two come together to solve find a missing girl that’s on the run, but what they uncover is a web of corruption and crime.
For someone who was involved the script during for the Lethal Weapon films and the dynamic duo that was Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, Shane Black sure knows a thing or two about pairing up seemingly polar opposites and making them pop on-screen. This is what he accomplishes with Gosling and Crowe. On the surface those two seem like an odd pairing, but the reality is far more ideal. They are superb together. They really are the driving force of the film. The chemistry is uncanny.
This might be the most against type role that Gosling has taken up. For a guy who usually is tackling serious dramatic roles, it’s great to see a goofy and silly side of him that isn’t familiar. The key to this film is the young girl Angourie Rice, who plays Goslings feisty and quite the wisecracker.
The humor is heavily rooted in the over-the-top shenanigans these guys partake in. Gosling’s character Holland seems to be crying, screaming, or squealing in every other scene he’s in. While the story is mainly depicted as one big farce, there are a lot of neat classic film noir shout outs. The frequent chain smoking, drinking, sloppy detective work, plus the overall look of the movie. I appreciated the homage. The film takes on multiple identities. It’s a clear-cut slapstick comedy, that’s also a crime mystery, and a full-blown action movie towards the end. It’s a nice blend of genres that works well in the overall presentation.
At times the outrageous nature of the film is a little too much and over-the-top. This is a really raunchy sexualized movie. There is so an overabundance of porn references, and nudity. It feels a bit uncomfortable watching the young girl spew off foul language and be make sexual references. No need for her to utter the words “rim job”.
The plot gets convoluted and hard to follow until the later stages, when it’s slowly starts to make sense. A few less gags would have aided the backstory and reveals of the characters. There are underlying connections to the characters that the filmmaker wants us to grasp, but when it’s followed up by an instant gag, it’s hard to feel and resonate with them.
One thought that I kept having was that the film and especially the main characters, Holland and Jackson are part of a successful SNL sketch that just received a feature film treatment. They barely feel human, seem more like caricatures or human cartoon characters, especially Holland.
The Blu-ray Combo Pack special features include “Always Bet on Black” and “Worst. Detectives. Ever. Making The Nice Guys”. Only two bonus features, but worth checking out.
“The Nice Guys” is a very entertaining movie that will undoubtedly have you laughing. It walks the fine line between humor and insults, so it isn’t a film that will resonate with everyone. If you are a person who is easily offended by foul language, crude and raunchy humor, and sexists jokes then you might be tempted to walk out on this one. If you can take the film in stride and accept it for what it is and not take it seriously then you’ll have a lot of fun and laughs. Gosling delivers a highly energetic and against type of performance. He plays the most eccentric character that I could remember him playing, plus a he puts in a lot of work into it with a ton of physicality. The pairing of him and Crowe was genius casting. This has potential to become a franchise moving forward. The “The Nice Guys” deliver and it was nice to see them give it their all in the most outlandishly entertaining comedy so far this year.
Runtime: 1 hr 56 min
Release Date: August 23, 2016 (Blu-ray/DVD)
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