The following is a review of The Nice Guys, a Shane Black film.
The Nice Guys, a crime buddy comedy, follows the enforcer Jackson Healy (played by Russell Crowe), who sees himself as an unlicensed private detective, and Holland March (played by Ryan Gosling), a miserable and cynical private detective. Healy and March start at opposite ends of the same case. March has been hired by the aunt of porn star Misty Mountain who recently died.
The aunt claims to have seen her niece alive after her death, and the clues point March towards a girl named Amelia (played by Margaret Qualley). Meanwhile, Healy has been hired by Amelia to intimidate a number of people who have been following her. This causes their paths to cross. As Healy and March inevitably team-up, they are now tasked to find Amelia, who is being chased by two thugs.
The Nice Guys is great from the get-go. I won’t rob you of the experience of seeing the opening scene, but I have to give credit to Ty Simpkins for doing well in an awkwardly funny scene. The kid from Insidious and Iron Man 3 is growing up! It was great to see him have a cameo in the film, seeing as his role in Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 isn’t really going anywhere for him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now.
But let’s move onto why we’re all here: Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe! And, boy, are they magnificent in this film! Buddy comedies usually work the best when you pair up two very different people. On the surface, Healy and March aren’t that different from each other. One is an unlicensed private detective, and the other is an actual private eye.
But they are very different characters. Holland March is miserable, pathetic, uproarious, and pretty much lost. He has bad luck, is slender, and he only lives for the paycheck and his daughter (played by Angourie Rice), who disapproves of her father.
On the other hand, we have Jackson Healy. Healy actually does the job that Holland March should do. Healy cares about his client, as long as they pay him. He is hefty, tough, cynical, ‘professional’, violent, and aims to be ‘equanimous’.
They are two very well-crafted characters, and their interactions are great. They have some pretty memorable lines, but it goes beyond the script. Crowe and Gosling live and breathe their characters, and they have excellent chemistry. They carry the film, which is absolutely hilarious.
I don’t have a lot of problems with the film, but the two that I have are pretty significant. Kim Basinger’s character story is really predictable. I can’t really say more about her, without going into spoiler territory. And my biggest problem with The Nice Guys is that the plot not only plays second fiddle to the character interactions, but it also became a bit confusing in the third act.
But, all in all, The Nice Guys is a great film. If the character interactions are enough for you, then you’ll absolutely love this film. Just like I did. The Nice Guys is an original buddy comedy, and it is great grown-up fun. You have to see it. These characters deserve a sequel.
9 out of 10
– I’m Jeffrey Rex.