Shane Black's stylish 70's era set The Nice Guys follows Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as Jackson Healy and Holland March, a hired enforcer and a private investigator respectively, as they try and crack the case of a dead porn star and a missing teenage girl. It turns out there's far more to the case than they originally thought and of course, hijinks ensue.
The marketing campaign for The Nice Guys has been completely based around the chemistry between Ryan Gosling (Drive) and Russell Crowe (L.A Confidential), and for good reason, these two were made to work with one another. Their rapport is endlessly entertaining and could go down as one of the great cinematic pairings, it's evident that the two actors are having the time of their life portraying these radically different and wildly entertaining characters.
The plot thickens as the film progresses so I'd be doing you a disservice to delve deep into story. I can't even go into how Matt Bomer's "cruel and unusual" hitman, John Boy, factors into the plot, but when he does, the action is upped and so are the stakes. Healy and March come together to solve a high profile case, one that lands them in more danger than they ever expected, both characters are way in over their heads.
What keeps The Nice Guys so watchable is the dynamic and the juxtaposition between Crowe's brutal and comically dry Healy and Gosling's charming and alcoholic, struggling single father, March. The two play off each other perfectly, it's hard to imagine anyone else in these roles. Whilst these two performers are two of the best in the business, it might be Angourie Rice (These Final Hours) as March's 13 year old daughter who steals the show, despite her dad's best efforts, she works her way into the case and actually proves to be of some help along the way. This odd couple action comedy has a slew of memorable set pieces, unforgettable lines of dialogue and an on screen pairing that I could go on to watch in a number of sequels.
The real star of The Nice Guys, is writer and director Shane Black who infuses so much of his signature style into the film. Black gets fantastic performances from his cast and perfectly creates the feeling of the 1970's. The extravagant parties, the colorful costumes and the obsession and commercialism of sex in the 70's are all present in this Neo-noir crime caper. Black, paired with producer Joel Silver, is somewhat of a legend when it comes to films in this genre, he wrote the screenplays for Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout and went on to direct Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in 2005, and it might be too soon to say, but I'm confident that The Nice Guys is his finest piece of work so far.
There are some moments where the film feels longer than it is, where jokes takes precedent over story and the pace is lost, but it's not a hugely noticeable flaw. If Gosling and Crowe weren't so appealing and fun to watch then it might have been a larger issue. Comedy comes so naturally in the film, laughs more often come from the actually absurdity of the era and the story rather than punchlines. There are scenes which I'll remember for some time to come; March stumbling across a dead body after accidentally tumbling off a balcony down a hill was a scene that had me wiping tears of laughter from my eyes.
The Nice Guys is a guaranteed great time at the cinema, it's stylish, absurd and endlessly entertaining. I'm giving The Nice Guys a 9.4/10.