The Nice Guys is a fantastic buddy film that is heavy on the laughs and big on the blood. I enjoyed every second of the madcap mayhem and buddy shenanigans. Director/writer Shane Black is a comedic force of nature who understands that great characters trump all, and his films always ring true because of this. The Nice Guys might not reach the dizzying heights of Black's previous films Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or Lethal Weapon, but it is a lot of fun and I hope it gets a sequel.
Here are five reasons why you should meet The Nice Guys.
1. Shane Black Is The Best
Black burst onto the scene when he wrote the script for 1987's Lethal Weapon. Since then, he has been an important figure in Hollywood. Whether writing or directing, Black's movies have a unique personality and always give people like me something to write about (read my Shane Black fanzine post).
With The Nice Guys he is back doing what he does best: Telling the story of a private detective who teams up with an enforcer to solve a crime. It's Shane Black 101, but I love this class.
2. Russell Crowe And Ryan Gosling Have Great Chemistry
The biggest issue when casting for a Shane Black movie is making sure the lead actors have a decent rapport. They need to have chemistry because they are going to be volleying a lot of rapid-fire dialogue back and forth. As performers, they must be totally unselfish in their attempt to bounce off each other and bring the dialogue to life.
Crowe and Gosling look like they are having a lot of fun in The Nice Guys. They are great together and you can tell they relish the opportunity to be vulgar, funny and witty.
Check out the trailer to see their chemistry.
3. Ryan Gosling Is Really Funny
Gosling proved he had the comedic chops in Crazy, Stupid, Love., and his performance in The Nice Guys reinforces that fact. He plays Holland March, a terrible detective who has no sense of smell and is always drunk. However, Holland is occasionally good at his job and is seemingly invincible.
Gosling is at his best when he is reacting to the insanity around him. His responses range from confused to flabbergasted, and he is an endless source of entertainment. You will love the relationship he has with his daughter and appreciate his all-in performance.
4. Russell Crowe Is A Perfect Blend Of Schlub And Badass
Russell Crowe is 100 percent believable when he is kicking butt. Whether he is wiping people out in Gladiator or flying on a lizard in Man of Steel, I always believe he is capable of great feats. However, I've never bought him as a schlub in movies like A Good Year, The Next Three Days and State of Play. There is something about Crowe playing the wimp that I just don't believe, and I'm always wondering why he doesn't just fistfight his way out of any problem.
In The Nice Guys, Crowe's character Jackson Healy is a perfect combination of out of shape and powerhouse. I love that Healy is a decent guy who only wants to drink Yoo-hoo and beat people up for money. You will love this different side of Crowe.
5. It Is A Fantastic Throwback To The Days Of The R-Rated Buddy Comedy
I love a good R-rated buddy comedy. Who doesn't? Movies like Lethal Weapon, Bad Boys, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, 48 Hours, Tango & Cash and The Long Kiss Goodnight are perfect examples of two opposites meeting and being awesome together. A good buddy comedy establishes at its core a believable relationship on which to build a wonderful friendship. When done right, the films collect a huge audience and stay popular for years.
Shane Black helped revolutionize the buddy comedy formula back in the 1980s, and I hope The Nice Guys successfully paves the way for a swath of buddy movies to come.