The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys ★★★★½

”She’s as blind as a bat. If you were to put a moustache in car she would be like: That Omar Sharif sure runs fast”

Shane Black’s career is a curious one. He started from the bottom as a screenwriter and as one he soon gained success with the release of Lethal Weapon, which is today held as a b-movie buddy cop classic. Jump forward twenty years and you’ll see Shane Black truly cementing is name in Hollywood with his marvelous directorial debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; a film so unexpectedly good that I already consider it a contemporary classic. Just like with The Nice Guys, Downey Jr.’s vehicle had a perfect balance and blend of genres, which made the ride be a one of a kind but also one that's outstandingly enjoyable. Black’s follow-up was of a greater scale with Iron Man 3; perhaps the first heavily comic feature in the Marvel Universe and still one of their more interesting outputs.

However with The Nice Guys, a buddy cop movie - where the cops are replaced by detectives - set in the seventies, is a return home to the filmmaker. The similarities with Bang Bang are glaring; a parallel could be stretched between both plotlines as two detectives are looking for a missing girl in both films and in addition both movies have a wonderful blend of genres that’s equally riveting as it is meticulous. Withal, the main relation between both flicks is in the pure simple fact that both are enormously entertaining and fun.

Black is able to create a spectacle that’s thoroughly satisfying and consistently funny, but behind the gags and laughs underlays a storyline that’s also pretty intricate and complex. The director may dazzle us with costumes and strong set-pieces but there’s also character development and dimension to this storyline. All of this meaning that Shane Black doesn’t create an entertaining distraction that albeit fun is incoherent and vain, no, there’s meat to this comedy. We’re not only engaged by the lead characters' goofiness, we care for them.

The actors, as you may guess, also play an important role, in fact a crucial one. Gosling and Crowe need no introduction as they are two undeniably gifted actors; be that as it may, these two aren’t exactly the two leads you’d seek out to do a comedy. They weren’t an obvious match, which just makes their chemistry and spark all the more glorious. Ryan Gosling's and Russell Crowe’s chemistry is more palpable than any 3-D film will ever be; these two have the kind of natural interaction that catapults their performances into the status of instant classic ones. So much of The Nice Guys relays on their off-and-on teasing that without these two the film just wouldn’t work.

I had seen Ryan Gosling in comedies but never quite like this. This is not only his best comic performance as it is also one of his best enactments of his entire career. He makes the role of March, a petty goofy detective, one for the ages. On the other hand I don’t think I’d ever seen Russell Crowe in a comedy, at least a memorable one. This is a throw-back to another neo-noir set in California, L.A Confidential, where he played an equally tough detective. Loved to see Crowe this hilarious and more importantly I loved seeing Crowe be this god damn charismatic again. Also, to dismiss Angourie Rice who plays such an important role in the film would be unfair in the least; her comfort in front of the camera is admirable and she’s quite simply just great in the role of Gosling’s daughter.

This bat-shit crazy exhilarating rollercoaster of a comedy is reminiscent from Big Lebowski. I believe that in twenty years people will look back at this playful, lively homage to noir as a classic. This has already been cemented as one of the year’s most delightful films and I do believe it will be among the best.

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