The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys ★★★½

The script is a bit messy, but honestly it's so hard to care. The Nice Guys is about character dynamics, specifically those between Healy (Russell Crowe) and March (Ryan Gosling), and those between March and his daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice).

Healy is muscle-for-hire. Take money, protect someone or deliver a physical message. March is a private detective. Take money, and something? Drink, definitely. Their paths cross when they both end up looking for the same girl, an actor/activist named Amelia.

The two leads provide a fun contrast, both in terms of personality (Crowe's earnest gruffness vs Gosling's laid back quest for booze and cash) and delivering characters that are sort of genre cliches, but buck the trend enough to be interesting.

But what gives The Nice Guys its heart is Rice, who gives the film a sort of if-Veronica-Mars-was-12 kind of vibe. Both in terms of her conversational acumen and interest (and ability) to do sleuthing herself. Where most movies create a trio by introducing a love interest, here we have a trio via family.

The lack of a (real) love interest is actually pretty refreshing, although The Nice Guys still taps into sex appeal as the case takes our protagonists into the den of a porn producer. So, you know, three cheers for the adult entertainment industry! Considering the, ahem, central role porn takes in the case, the sex and nudity is kept at a near minimum. Some bared breasts, yes. A non-stop visual guide through erotica, no.

Funny throughout (the elevator conversation about "eunuch" getting misinterpreted as "Munich" is phenomenal), The Nice Guys win on being flat out endearing. It's that lovely combination of heartwarming and amusing. Fun characters doing fun things with each other, but in a way that doesn't feel like it's pandering to the lowest denominator. Just, a pity that the script clusterfucks its way through the plot.

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