When two seemingly mismatched private detectives in 1977 Los Angeles come together to solve the case of a missing girl and prove a pornstars apparent suicide has more to it than appears. You’ll find mayhem quickly ensue, with plenty of property damage, law bending, and certain pain and death. Are they bad people? Yes. Nice guys? Definitely.
The Nice Guys is a classic Shane Black whimsical buddy cop movie, which puts Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling together in an unexpected match up that pays off with excellent chemistry and comic timing – bolstered by a tight script and a well-designed setting. First on opposite sides of the case, the two soon unite when they realise this has more to it then what the people paying them have led to believe.
Despite being inept in their own fallibility – such as Ryan Goslings clumsiness verses Crowe’s blunt and harsh no nonsense approach – the two soon form a strong team and bond, helped along by Angourie Rice (from Australia) who plays Gosling’s thirteen year old daughter, who herself is confident, witty and an active participant in the story. Another common plot trope of Shane Black (whose fame stems from films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3) and helps the hapless chaps on a number of occasions.
The story is layered in subtle ways of loss, value and morality, but overall it’s a fun ride with more laugh-out-loud moments than any comedy of recent memory. Whether it’s through a clever edit, delivery of a line or just slapstick The Nice Guys struggles to have a boring scene the whole film and keeps threading you along with the right amount of mystery and intrigue about where the narrative is going.
The attention to detail in the 1970’s setting, music and references are other great additions to a bit of surprise hit of a movie. It may divide audiences due to its almost careless disregard of traditional storytelling ideas but this adds to its magic, creating that feel and sense of unpredictability. The story takes twists and turns in directions you never thought imaginable, and perhaps will be more complex than you first thought.
Entertaining, funny, well acted and well directed – a fun movie to see if you don’t want to think too much… or see any superheroes. But, beware; there’s no shortage of violence, nudity and plenty of cussing, almost like it was actually made back in 1977.