Director Shane Black’s latest is a comedic whodunit starring Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, and Angourie Rice that takes place in the captivating 1970s L.A. scene. In the style of his previous career rejuvenating Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Black is able to take two actors known for more action and heavy drama roles and place them in an environment that in a way seems more fitting for them. The Nice Guys is simply one of the best movies of the year so far. From start to finish it sets up and delivers on everything it promises beat for comedic beat.
Private detective Holland March (Ryan Gosling) can’t catch a break no matter how hard he tries. With a winning personality he charms old ladies out of extra money for cases he’s hired on, he fumbles around L.A. making the occasional discovery but mostly wasting his and everyone else's time. Holland eventually gets a visit from Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) to “encourage” Hollard to drop the current case he is working. Jackson is a low level enforcer who spends his days using brass knuckles to deliver brutal messages to would-be pedophiles and other nuisances like Holland. Eventually things come together as Holland and Jackson are forced to join forces to find the location of a missing girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley). Their team up takes them on an exploration of the nightlife of 1970s L.A., from pornstar parties to exclusive car shows and everything in between. The atmosphere of the film is one of its greatest assets. Director Shane Black is able to recreate the magic of that time and place with great costuming, excellent location shooting, and a stellar needle drop soundtrack.
During their search for Amelia, the two men run into other mob enforcers, contract killers, and enough alcohol to drown Holland’s sorrows in all the while making their seemingly simple job that much more interesting. The two are then joined by Holland's daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice), a precocious 14 year old that keeps Holland on his toes and settles Jackson’s more violent nature. There are so many wonderful performances in this film but the three leads are able to stand out without any problems. Russell Crowe’s Jackson Healy is one part lovable rogue, one part-terrifying thug. He balances so well against the fumbling Ryan Gosling, who in my opinion steals damn near every scene he’s in. You really do identify with Holland March as the audience going through this insane shoot-em-up journey and laughing all the way. Last but certainly not least is Angourie Rice. Even though she is only 14 years old, she is just as smart, funny, crass, and irreverent as her other co-stars. She certainly has a bright future ahead of her. This year has been filled to the brim with super heroics and CGI fests. It’s nice to get a small break from that and watch a film that is simple in nature but delivers on a grand scale.
[easyreview title= "Review of The Nice Guys" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="4.5" overall= false]