I’m somewhat of a fan of Shane Black. His work has this appealing, unique flavor in it; he’s quite good in making witty, violent, fast-paced action comedies. He wrote the first two movies of the Lethal Weapon franchise (which is arguably the definitive buddy cop action comedy) as well as The Last Action Hero, which are among my most favorite action films. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which he both wrote and directed, is immensely entertaining and clever. Also, for me, his Iron Man 3 is the best Iron Man installment.
Thus, I understandably had big expectations for The Nice Guys (which he both directed and wrote). And he delivered.
The Nice Guys is set in 1970’s Los Angeles and tells the story of an enforcer-for-hire named Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and an alcoholic, struggling private eye named Holland March (Ryan Gosling) who team up to look for a missing girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley). But as the two detectives get closer to finding her, they stumble upon a dangerous conspiracy in which everyone involved start turning out dead.
First of all, let me praise its amazingly amusing, likable characters – especially the leads. Crowe and Gosling have fantastic chemistry. In my opinion, among all “buddy” pairings in film, they are one of the closest, if not the closest, in emulating the charm of Lethal Weapon’s Riggs and Murtaugh. It’s also worth acknowledging the terrific performance of Angourie Rice, who played Gosling’s daughter in the movie.
The Nice Guys is – for what the movie was going for – a perfectly wonderful movie. I’ve nothing to nitpick – not one bit. It has a clever script and solid direction – again, kudos to Black. The satirized noir storytelling tone is very endearing. The production value is stylish and authentic. The story is a delight all throughout; there’s never a dull moment in its narrative. All attempts of humor worked, even the times when it’s predictable. The combination of witty writing, impeccable comedic timing, and violent slapstick made this movie extremely hilarious. It had me constantly in stitches.
I had tons of fun with The Nice Guys. And it left a feeling of excitement when its last part heavily hinted a sequel – something I really wish will happen. Heck, this movie is so fresh and good that it deserves, not only a sequel, but a franchise even! Sadly, that’s unlikely now, since it unfortunately flopped in the box office.