The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys ★★★★½

The Nice Guys is ridiculously fun. There's no other way to describe it. It's a solid two hours of non-stop enjoyment, even with a couple of flaws here and there. Before talking about those issues though, let's dwell for a bit on what makes this a truly brilliant summer blockbuster - or at least, what would make it so if audiences had embraced it. Instead, it will have to be happy with being an underseen gem.

The fun of The Nice Guys is due to several things, but the first that must be mentioned is its cast. Gosling and Crowe play their roles of Holland March and Jackson Healy perfectly, and it's hard to say who is funnier. Crowe is dryly humorous, and has the more fleshed-out character of the two. He clearly relishes the fun of the film. Gosling though plays a lovable idiot, and gives the film its biggest belly-laughs. However, Angourie Rice steals the show as Holly, Holland's daughter, and also manages to make the term "buddy cop" not really apply to this movie, as she is the most competent character in the film and a worthy sleuth, especially compared to the older men.

Black's direction and script (co-written with Anthony Bagarozzi) make The Nice Guys a winner, with a constantly propulsive plot jam-packed with jokes. The noir plotline keeps the audience on its toes and thankfully, the characters and the audience are typically on the same page. The 70s atmosphere is refreshingly not thrown into the audience's face, although a few awkward references to the modern era appear and stick out like a sore thumb compared to the other, more witty humor.

The action is surprisingly enthralling too, thanks to the humor being well-endowed within them. Nothing particularly stands out, but that's fine as this is a mystery first, comedy second, and action film last. The character work for all three main characters is wonderfully portrayed, as their arcs are well-defined and makes us root for them all the way through. The biggest issue the film has is a slow first half-hour, but the rest of the feature goes by so fast, this is easily forgivable. The Nice Guys triumphs as wonderfully entertaining filmmaking thanks to the tight script, Shane Black's amusing style, and astounding chemistry between Gosling, Crowe and Rice. Its poor performance at the box office is a true shame, and one that should be alleviated by every connoisseur of great popcorn cinema.

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