The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys ★★★★★

I recently had an exceptionally shit day and I wanted a big deal for my 300th film log, so I figure why not this little beauty. Shane Black is quite easily both my favourite Hollywood screenwriter, and quite possibly my spirit animal, so I figure he gets me and he'll cheer me up.

Boy does he. Although I was shocked upon revisit that the movie isn't as consistently hilarious as I recall it being in theatres, but literally every time the movie goes for it, it absolutely lands. This is the first time Black gets this broad in any of his films, but Ryan Gosling's buffoonery sells it. The film isn't afraid to do a harsh 180 at any given time and be cold or mean spirited as fuck, so it's not like making a Marvel film softened Black up in any way.

I'm pretty sure you can give Black any combination of actors and he can create magic with them. It's certainly the case here, with Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling and Angourie Rice. I was never really a fan of Gosling's stoic, mysterious loner, cooler than thou previous roles, they always came off as posturing an inorganic, even though he's going pretty far over the top here, it still manages to feel like there's some basis in reality. Crowe is playing, on appearances a very Russell Crowe type role, but there's definitely more nuanced sadness to it that you don't see in these old gruff brawler types.

This very typical Shane Black caper with it's requisite shadowy conspiracy of murders and cover ups, unlike literally all his previous scripts, is completely and utterly inconsequential to us as a contemporary audience and not only that, the good guys lost and the problem just ended up sorting itself out in the end regardless. So to help circle it back to me and my shitty day, that is probably the best thing about the film. We'll lose, but fuck it, we did our best and maybe, just maybe it'll be fine anyway.

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