THE NICE GUYS [2016]

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Directed by Shane Black

Written by Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi

Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David


Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe share excellent chemistry in this highly amusing ‘buddy-cop’ mystery, which unfolds in such a bizarre manner I was reminded a little of some of the Coen’s work. The two actors play off each other perfectly, and I find it amazing that these guys haven’t worked together before. The teaser trailers released displayed that chemistry, with hilarious results. Throughout all the twists, this chemistry is always apparent and it is easily the best thing about the movie.

Renting a house that his daughter Holly hates, while he ‘rebuilds’ his old house that burnt down, Holland March is a P.I. – a semi-functional drunk who is trying to win his daughter’s respect while working a seedy job. Directly contrasting him is the more… insistent of the two. Jackson Healy likes his brass knuckles and he is decidedly unlicensed. He also likes to get to the point, just one of many character traits that contrast brilliantly against March’s drunken methods. The two get off to something of a rough start, as Healy is working for a girl who wants to be left alone, and March is the one looking for her. Thanks to some very convenient circumstances, it soon becomes apparent that they need to team up to find this girl who may or may not want to be found, who may or may not be in danger.

As they bumble their way through the investigation, the story throws plenty of memorable characters at us (‘Blue Face’ being my favourite, played by Beau Knapp), as well as weaving in a variety of themes, such as big business, pollution that is killing wildlife (and protesting college students), and a highly sought after ‘experimental’ film that seems to be far more important than it should be.

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This is easily the most I have laughed since I saw The Lobster, and while there is some great psychical screwball humour, the biggest laughs come from the relationship that Healy and March form, how well they are played by Ryan and Russell, and how sharp the script is, offering many verbal barbs for them to launch at one another. Balancing against the comedy is the moral compass of film, March’s daughter Holly. A no-bullshit 13-year old who is perhaps a little too mature for her father’s liking, she has some key lines that pierce the ethical grey areas that her father and Healy work within.

Holly is played by young Aussie, Angourie Rice, and it is great to see her again after her turn in the Aussie thriller These Final Hours, where she outshone many of the adult actors. Her turn here is just as impressive, and both roles required a lot from the young actor. Keep an eye out for her in the future. I was also impressed with the wardrobe and soundtrack; they are both spot on, without being over the top, never screaming ‘SEVENTIES!” at the top of its lungs like some 70’s based films do. Unfortunately though we have more horrid camera-work during hand-to-hand combat. I understand that not every film can look like Ong Bak, but I really wish film-makers would put in the effort to choreograph fight scenes properly, meaning they could be filmed in a much less manic and messy style.

If it isn’t obvious already – this is escapist entertainment. As much as I can’t escape into superhero films, this was a flick that I could immerse myself into completely. However, if you want to pick out flaws, you will find more than I was expecting. The story, while entertaining and funny, has a few plot-holes and more than a couple of extremely convenient situations. The ending was also a little underwhelming considering everything that had preceded it, and it unfortunately eluded to a possible sequel – perhaps this is because the director has made a super-hero film. Few of them ever end on a finite note. Personally, I’d probably watch a sequel, but I highly doubt that it would be better than this, even if all the writers and cast returned.

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I admit that the plot flew over my head many times; more than once I was asking myself ‘so who is this guy again?’ Additionally, the whole story seems much five beer(1)more complicated that it needed be, though I guess that is one of the angles that made it so funny. But it is the chemistry between the two leads that stands out; responsible for the most laughs and the best scenes. The film also handles the balance between action and comedy well, executing both with finesse, though I would have liked a little more action in the cocktail. But I’m not complaining, for once I have found a ‘summer’ film to escape into!

One beer short of a sixer

5/6

34 Comments on “THE NICE GUYS [2016]

    • Well its winter here 😛

      But yeah I’m so glad to have found a movie I could just lose myself in. And it has replay value too, I’ll probably go see it again in a couple of weeks

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The cast is amazing and I will for sure be on the look out for more movies with Ms. Rice. SHe for sure held her own with Gosling and Crowe. You are correct in that it is the 70’s without screaming it. I cant wait to rewatch this

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, when I wrote that thing about the 70’s I was thinking American Hustle. That was way over the top, though it seemed to be pretty popular so what do I know!

      If you want to see Rice hold her own in another movie, check out These Final Hours. Its available to stream I am pretty sure. Great flick

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  2. Probably as summery as any summer movie we are likely to see. Not dumb entertainment, but not smart either and yet it works for the reasons you outlined. Great take, Jordan.

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    • Thanks mate. And yeah, while it is winter here atm 😛 you are right, its not dumb but its not too lofty either. Didn’t need to use the ol’ noggin much

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha!! If that’s what you think of him I’d be very interested to hear what you think of this! I thought he was great, best thing he has done is a long, long time. Waaaaay better than his director debut The Water Diviner

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  3. Nice review Jordan. Saw this last week and very much enjoyed it. Shane Black’s always been good at the buddy-cop genre and I had a lot of fun, though the story certainly isn’t air-tight.

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    • Yeah, not air-tight but not nearly enough to ruin the film. I had never heard of Shane Black, but goddamn this was funny. I’ll keep an eye on him

      Liked by 1 person

      • Black’s most famous for writing Lethal Weapon. He’s great at mixing clever banter with stylistic violence.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I didn’t know he wrote Lethal Weapon. heh, I haven’t seen that in a looong time. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for him, as long as its not a bloody superhero movie 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I never would’ve thought Crowe and Gosling would make a good cinematic duo. LOVE the former, but the latter, not so much. Somehow in interviews promoting the movie, Gosling made me cringe, but Russell Crowe has always got excellent comic timing. He seems a lot more jolly these days, which is a joy to watch. I’ve been a fan of his since Gladiator, I even saw his earlier movies like Heaven’s Burning, which was a bit rubbish but still worth a watch for Russie. In any case, I might give this a rent, Jordan.

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    • Big Russ really is great in this, and I liked Gosling as the bumbling semi-fuctional drunk. Their chemistry is awesome, it almost makes the movie. I hope you enjoy it when you see it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll definitely rent it when it’s out on Bluray Jordan. I’ll be posting my friend Ted’s review next week, he enjoyed it quite a bit too.

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      • cool! Its nice to have a ‘summer’ movie that wasn’t a superhero or over-the-top action film. Though it is winter where I am hehe

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  5. Really looking forward to seeing this – the trailer made me laugh the first time I saw it and I’ve had it pencilled in ever since, so it’s great to see it getting good reviews! Have you ever seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang? Shane Black wrote that one too (as well as stuff like Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout). If you enjoyed this I’m guessing you’ll probably dig it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah Tom mentioned Kiss Kiss. I’ve never heard of it but if its anything like this, I need to see it. It is bloody funny! And Crowe is terrific, best I have seen him in years

      Liked by 1 person

    • Totally worth a watch, Crowe is awesome and Gosling is pretty great too. And it gets weirder and weirder as it goes, which is what reminded me of the Coens (tho not the buddy-cop aspect). Hope you get to see it soon

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Another great review! Your writing is excellent, how are the Archway Chronicles comoing along?

    I’d love to see this!! LOVE that they have great chemistry, I’m a fan of both actors and Gosling is particularly good playing someone a bit awkward. Sounds like a blast, can’t wait!

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    • It is a total blast, and the chemistry is almost visible it is that good.

      As for the Chronicles, I am still muddling through chapter six, trying to find where I am in the timeline of the story. Plus it was a pretty traumatic experience, which I’m sure contributes to me avoiding it, if only on a subconscious level

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  7. Glad you liked it too! I just loved how vibrant and fun the movie was, even the comedy/drama balance near the end wasn’t that well handled, but it picked up before the film ended in that amazing car show sequence. Gosling and Crowe were terrific and I liked that they ended with a way to have a sequel, unfortunately the movie isn’t earning much which is a shame:/

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had no idea about it until you posted some of those trailer clips and the chemistry was so good. And its there for the whole movie, plus it certainly is a fun ride. I’m not sure I liked the ending eluding to a sequel though. I don’t think a sequel could be better than this was

      Like

  8. I have been sooo excited for this ever since I saw the first trailer, it looks positively awesome and the shining reviews have only added to the hype. Also, who doesnt want to see comedic Crow? Great review man. Looking forward to this.

    Like

  9. Pingback: TOP TEN FILMS OF 2016 | epileptic moondancer

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