Title: The Nice Guys
Director: Shane Black
Summary:A mismatched pair of private eyes investigate the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles.
I was one of the people who liked Inherent Vice last year but I wasn’t crazy about it. I could see what it was going for, I just didn’t like it all the way through. When I saw the trailer for The Nice Guys I thought maybe this was going to be the one movie that Inherent Vice was trying to be. I also really liked the look of the cast, and Shane Black as the director made make feel pretty confident that this was going to be okay at the very least.
The Nice Guys is paced weirdly and the story is a little muddled, but the banter between the two leads makes up for it.
I’m going to be up front and say that I’m a huge sucker for good dialogue. There isn’t anything that I enjoy more than to watch people with good chemistry banter. It’s one of the reasons why I tend to love team ups in my comics because of team dynamics. The Nice Guys has two great leads in Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and Holland March (Ryan Gosling) with absolutely fantastic backup in Holly (Angourie Rice), March’s young daughter. Out of the two main leads it’s Gosling who ends up stealing the show. He absolutely goes for broke as a private investigator who spends most of the movie under the influence of alcohol and an all around terrible person. He’s hilarious with his weird mannerisms and high pitched scream. Not that Crowe’s character ends up much better but he’s the one who hurts people out of this duo. In fact that is his job; Healy is the man you hire to beat people up. This is how he ends up meeting March and they end up swept up in a crime conspiracy.
Gosling might be the star but Rice is one of the best versions of a kid I’ve seen on film in a long time. She’s only thirteen but it becomes very much apparent that she’s the smart one in the household. She drives her drunk Dad around and stows away in a trunk because she knows these two are going to need help. The movie never turns her into a damsel in distress which astounded me. As soon as Holly started hanging around her Dad and Healy, I could see a bad guy putting a gun to her head. However, while this does happen eventually, Holly doesn’t take that stuff lying down. She’s one of those kids that is capable of taking care of herself like a real person and I loved the movie for it.
If there are pieces that keep the movie from being great it’s pacing and story. The Nice Guys is just under two hours but it felt a lot longer which is never a good sign for the pacing of the movie. It has several moments that feel like they should be the ending and then the movie keeps going. That also might be the fault of the story as well. I understand that the two men we’re following are either not the brightest crayons in the box or under the influence but it felt like the story jumped around. In the end I’m not even sure it made sense as it got more and more convoluted with conspiracies and murder. It felt like it was trying to be a sprawling crime drama but in the end it just felt like a random assortment of events that aren’t connected.
The Nice Guys isn’t a perfect movie and not director Shane Black’s best work (that would be Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), but the chemistry between the leads and the great dialogue were enough to make me overlook the story and pacing issues for the most part.