I was pleasantly surprised by the buddy cop/odd couple less cerebral Pulp Fiction, if such a thing exists. The Nice Guys takes place in 1970s Los Angeles, when down-on-his-luck private eye Holland March (Gosling) and hired enforcer Jackson Healy (Crowe) must work together to solve the case of a missing girl and the seemingly unrelated death of an adult actress. During their investigation, they uncover a shocking conspiracy that reaches up to the highest circles of power. There is also porn. Ok, light IMPLIED porn.
This gives you just a taste of what the film has to offer:
Director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3) delivers a pretty solidly entertaining film, bringing out a slightly warmer and comedic side of Russell Crowe than we’ve seen in a long while. Ryan Gosling steps into the role of a drunkard private investigator who may possibly be immortal or at the very least incredibly resilient. The two pair well, playing off each other’s idiosyncrasies and eventually becoming more competent as partners in attempting to solve a crime, even though the person they need to protect doesn’t survive.
The true hero is March’s daughter Holly played by Angourie Rice (Mako Mermaids), her strong performance and character’s control of all situations made for an interesting dichotomy between the good not-a-cop and bad not-a-cop of the adults. She drives, she jokes, she curses, she uses a gun, and is more adult than her father. The scenes between Holly and Healy are well conceived and interesting to watch.
I’m secretly hoping this film will usher in the return of Russell Crowe in films with meaning, although I really did love him in Man Of Steel, The Water Diviner film about the Battle of Gallipoli was a waste of his talents. He has the ability to do comedy, he has the ability to be believable in lighter fare.
There was a secret thrill at seeing Gosling’s character present an origami t-shirt to a bartender for a bit of fleece because of his involvement in the upcoming Blade Runner sequel. Even if the scene’s inclusion wasn’t intended to be that ‘big of a deal’, I silently cheered because Gaff.
SCORE: 7 out of 10
While I don’t see The Nice Guys garnering any record breaking awards or nominations, an original plot and strong casting made it a treat. Bonus points for performances from Matt Bomer, Keith David, Gil Gerard, and America’s Next Top Model runner up Yaya Dacosta.
“You were in the pool.”
“YES, I had to question the mermaids.”