Films like The Nice Guys are nearly a dying breed. It's original, which means it's not based off a book, television series or previous property, and it is not another product of being a sequel/remake/prequel/spinoff/reboot. When you look at the 2016 summer movie season, it's hard to find a movie that fits into that tiny category.
What makes this so special though? It's not only that it's original, but it's that this film is really really DAMN good! If you would like to see my full video review you can click on that right here below:
When you look at the list of Summer film releases you see a pretty obvious pattern. Franchises are taking over the industry. Here is a list of such examples just for this summer alone: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Independence Day: Resurgence, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Finding Dory, Ben-Hur, Now You See Me 2, Star Trek: Beyond, Jason Bourne, Captain America: Civil War, Ice Age: Collision Course, Ghostbusters, and The Purge: Election Year.
Let's tally that up for a second. Out of 12 films listed, it totals 10 sequels, 1 reboot and 1 remake... Originality is losing in the film industry. Unimaginative studio executives would rather spend $200-300 million on a budget in hopes on grossing $1 billion. They don't want to take a chance on a film in the $10-30 million range and gross a couple 100 million back. It's all dollar signs for them.
Where does The Nice Guys fit into this shuffle? Let's talk about it.
1. Old Formula but Fresh Take
What's funny about the actual idea of The Nice Guys really isn't original at all. Two guys who aren't very much alike at all, begin the story hating one another and have to band together for the greater good to save the day. Buddy cop movies have been done for years. We've enjoyed decades of classic action comedies like Rush Hour, 48 Hours, Bad Boys and of course the one that seemingly started it all written by Shane Black himself Lethal Weapon.
What makes The Nice Guys fresh? This go around, we are given a lonely man who is hired muscle (Crowe) and an alcoholic low-rent scummy widowed private investigator (Gosling). What makes this different is both these guys are corrupt individuals who are NOT good people. Sure, that makes them different but that isn't what makes them lovable.
They have complexities behind them that unravel over the course of the film. They seem very basic at first, but they become layered and even tragic. Personally, I think Ryan Gosling's character Holland March may be one of my favorite new character of the past few years!
2. Genuine LOL Moments
Shane Black has always been a master of dark comedy blended with witty one liners on top of goofy action. The Nice Guys has everything you look for in a Shane Black film and more. If you didn't find any of the humor from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or Iron Man 3 entertaining you may not enjoy this either.
However, I think this movie has a wonderful balance of a wide variety of comedy. He gives us physical comedy, slapstick, dark comedy, and even low brow humor. There's no way there isn't at least one joke in this movie that'll make you laugh. You've seen from the trailers that Gosling and Crowe clearly have tremendous chemistry and the film is filled with lots of sarcastic banter between the two. It does NOT disappoint.
I believe more films should try to vary their humor so that they aren't pigeon holed into one brand of comedy.
3. Honest Mystery/Surprising Ending
I'm not speaking for everyone on this point but I'll speak from personal experience. Over the years, I have studied during (and following) college on writing for both film and television. It's a curse because once you get the general outline and read enough scripts, you understand formulas to be predictable. It doesn't ruin film/tv for me but it is challenging for me to be surprised anymore. One of the best examples on why The Nice Guys is fantastic, is the fact that you are honestly guessing what is going to happen until the very end.
Most cop stories or mysteries can usually be figured out around the 20 minute mark in the story. Shane Black made sure in this script that you had no idea. Just when you think the film is heading in this direction he turns you down a different road. Whenever you think this is something you've seen over and over, he flips it.
(Spoiler Warning) One surprise that left me both shocked and completely excited was when:
You see in the trailer that Gosling and Crowe's characters are trying to find/protect this girl Amelia. Where most movies would end with Amelia returning home to her family safely, Shane Black said NOT THIS TIME. About 3/4 through the movie, BOOM Amelia is shot and killed. That's right, our main "heroes" of the film fail in keeping their client safe. I didn't see that coming at all and that left me wholeheartedly surprised. That doesn't happen often!
This article is not intended to hate on any and all franchise films. If you've read any of my previous work on Moviepilot.com I'm a huge fan of Marvel Studios' Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as one of the first blockbusters ever Star Wars. All I wanted to accomplish was to have you go to the theaters to support an original non-franchise film. You don't even have to pay full price on a Friday. Just go to a matinee showing Saturday/Sunday when you're not doing anything for $5.
Trust me, this film was worth every penny. If there weren't new films coming out this upcoming weekend, I would go see The Nice Guys again.
We moan when we see Hollywood tries to remake films like Ben-Hur or even Point Break, yet we still go pay to see them. Sure, explosions look cool guys. I get it but, a film like The Nice Guys has plenty of action as any big blockbuster while also providing the laughs of any raunchy comedy. JUST GO SEE IT!
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