Director Shane Black pens a love letter to the seedy and smoggy world of 1977 Los Angeles with his new effort The Nice Guys. Starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, the film is a throwback to the unapologetic and violent buddy action films of yesteryear, which have been pushed aside due to political correctness and superhero franchises. Crowe plays Jackson, a hard nose guy who will make your problems go away for a price who is forced to team up with an alcoholic private eye named Holland March (Gosling) to unravel a mystery that has ties to government officials, the auto industry and the adult film world.
Not only does Shane Black capture the look of the City of Angels in the late 1970s with its classic LA landmarks, awful suits and Jaws 2 movie billboards, The Nice Guys feels like it was made in 1977. Instead of polishing up the insensitive language or covering up the ladies, Black lets it all hang out with young children seeing and saying hilarious foul things while bullets fly into unsuspecting bystanders without a care in the world. The senseless and inconsequential violence is on full display as Crowe beats down the bad guys while Gosling drunkenly staggers around with his young daughter in tow looking for clues in this rather complicated mystery.
The Nice Guys is zany and entertaining at times, but does get a little lost heading into the film’s final act. As stated earlier, the mystery goes in so many directions that director Shane Black gets stuck in his own web of deceit he created. The director looked to have a run out of creative gas by the conclusion of The Nice Guys. Certain visual elements are out-of-place in a film that attempts to mix laughs with the action. The villains are also pretty generic and are the weakest portion of the story.
It’s a shame the duo of Jackson and Holland don’t have a worthy adversary to battle while discovering the truth in The Nice Guys, because they are two imperfect and fun guys to root for. The chemistry between Crowe and Gosling makes you forget about the plot twists that don’t make much sense or not fully explained. Seeing the shady odd couple bicker like old ladies creates some genuinely funny bits with Crowe’s no nonsense enforcer dealing with Gosling’s absent-minded detective. Crowe and Gosling’s acting performances and the retro feel of The Nice Guys makes you forget about a plot that suffers in the storytelling department at certain points.
Overall, I give The Nice Guys 3 out of 4 stars.
Read all my reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell