The Nice Guys Reviews
Hardened muscle-for-hire Jackson Healy, Russell Crowe, teams up with ne'er do well private detective and single father Holland March, Ryan Gosling, to capture Amelia Kuttner, Margaret Qualley, who has connections to the mysterious death of porn star Misty Mountains. They encounter a colorful cast of characters as their investigation continues and the bond between Healy and March strengthens. March's teenage daughter Holly, Angourie Rice, is on hand to dispense wise beyond her years advice and as their adversaries mount against them and the conspiracy against a pornographic film becomes more and more complicated the two engage in wacky hi-jinks.
Having watched the film just over an hour ago I can't piece together the evidence and how the outcome of the film made any logical sense and yet I can't find a reason to care. Give me some Kim Basinger as a villainous government agent who is also the mother of a porn star that falls from the highest level of a multi-floor hotel onto the top of a car and remains relatively unscathed and I'm happy. Noir films that take themselves far too seriously become extremely dull to me very quickly, here there was enough zippy dialogue and insane plot developments to keep me fully engrossed and laughing all the way. Why would I want a dry thriller like Bridge of Spies (2015) when I could a get a film with all of the same elements that was actually interesting.
It's not just the fantastic screenplay that deserves credit but the two great lead performers. Crowe gives an unexpectedly good comedic turn as his paunchy figure and seeming boredom with the serious roles he has been given has forced him to move beyond his Gladiator (2000) era of acting. He pokes fun at the persona he developed in crime drama films like L.A. Confidential (1997) and American Gangster (2007) with great humor and his quips and one liners are delivered with a charming wink at the camera. Gosling is equally good as the hopeless counterpoint to Crowe as we see him struggling to be a good father and employing questionable ethics as he works. The slapstick moments in the film, save for one scene in which he does a Marx brothers impression, are carried off incredibly well by Gosling as his face which I usually find bland and lacking in expression radiates with joy in this film. It was nice to see two fine actors step out of their usual lane and give highly appealing performances.
The action scenes are also fortunately shot well as the comedy is successfully mixed with moments of genuine tension and unexpected violence that leave you breathless. One particularly entertaining scene occurs when Holly throws cold coffee at a particularly scary villain and we witness her slip and then shoot a bullet at a lamp with fatal but hilarious consequences. The shifts from Crowe and Gosling bickering to them engaging in spectacularly unsuccessful shootouts are smooth and sometimes the two even mix together to form a weird delight. This combination of genres means that the film is enjoyable for most audiences as it is not just a violent action movie for guys but a funny comedy filled with sweet and likable protagonists and outrageous celebrity villains.
The movie is available on Netflix so it is easy to access therefore you have no excuse not to enjoy this weird, wonderful and relatively brief little gem. Crowe and Gosling have snappy interplay, the screenplay just works and it's better than most of the modern film noirs out there despite being a comedy.
My favourite thing about this movie for sure are the sets and clothing. I do recommend this movie because the storyline is good and the actors are great, all is good, all is great.
Weaknesses: Some actors feel underutilized. Matt Bomer (John Boy) doesn´┐ 1/2(TM)t get to do a whole lot as the quiet assassin and he ultimately looks so ridiculous, it´┐ 1/2(TM)s hard to take him serious. I also didn´┐ 1/2(TM)t really see the point of Kim Basinger (Judith Kuttner). She´┐ 1/2(TM)s a recognizable face but didn´┐ 1/2(TM)t do anything in this movie. Margaret Quailey (Ameila Kuttner) is fine from a performance standpoint, but her character is ultimately unlikable.
Overall: A top 3 favorite movie of 2016 for me (behind Captain America: Civil War and La La Land). It has everything you could want, from great action to hilarious comedy to emotional moments. A strong script, great acting, and a high quality director brought it all together.