A review of the movie "The Nice Guys"
This afternoon I went out to see The Nice Guys a buddy comedy, neo-noir thriller set in Los Angeles in 1977. The movie tells the story of Holland March, (played by Ryan Gosling), a sleazy, inept, booze-sodden private investigator and a single father to his thirteen year old daughter (Angourie Rice), who reluctantly partners up with heavy Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe), who basically gets hired to beat people up, to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young woman, and it's connection to the mysterious death of a porn actress.
It's a hugely entertaining film co-written and directed by Shane Black (who you may know as the writer of Lethal Weapon and writer / director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3). It balances laughs and thrills very well, Russell Crowe providing gruff wisecracks and Ryan Gosling proving adept at physical comedy (the scene in the toilet stall is a hilarious stand-out). However the action is played straight enough that there is the feeling of genuine threat. There is also, crucially, a level of emotion to the film, it gets pretty dark at times, aside from all the carnage, and the deaths in the film mostly do have a degree of weight to them. Holland March bears a lot of guilt and Jackson Healy has a real world-weariness to him, and to be honest they may be the "Nice Guys" but they are not very nice guys, they both do some pretty horrible things in the course of the film. However there are moments, fleeting as they are, of heart and tenderness here. That being said, even if the pace flags in the middle of the film, it remains constantly entertaining throughout. It is a total joy.