director Shane Black
Hey, girl. This movie is pretty good.
Retro-style buddy comedy noir, set in the 1970’s Los Angeles, The Nice Guys is writer/director Shane Black doing his thing again. That thing that is pretty enjoyable most of the time.
We’ve got Russell Crowe as the heavy, doing dirty deeds for a reasonable price, until his beat down of hapless PI Ryan Gosling hooks up the two dudes on a typically twisty and complex path of the seedy side of LA and its porn industry among other things. Gosling has a daughter, the sharp and clever Holly (Angourie Rice) who tags along and gets into mischief and helps solve the case.
At its best, The Nice Guys is pretty funny. I watched it with my kids and they both thought it was pretty good and pretty hilarious. At worst, the movie slows down and gets a little maudlin, though it doesn’t seem like that’s where Black’s heart is. Are we supposed to be worried about Gosling’s alcoholism and whether he’s going to clean up his act? Or is it just funny when he clumsily does all the drunken things he does?
Frankly, the ending is odd and open-ended, with loose ends tied up, yet nothing really accomplished on the bigger end of the spectrum. That slightly cynical take is met with cheers and hopes for a sequel, for Crowe, Gosling, and Rice to return and reprise their roles.
The LA settings were interesting, trying to capture what’s left of Southern California that can still stand in for itself 40 years out.
Even with only 7 out of 10 rating, this may be one of the better pictures of the year.