Released by New Line Cinema
Release Date: May 20th, 2016
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, and Keith David
Written by Shane Black and Anthony Bagarozzi
Directed by Shane Black
Rated R (violence, sexuality, nudity, language and brief drug use)
I am trying to tread lightly on what I tell you about this film. It is very heavy on plot and, if you have seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, then you know that it can get pretty confusing. I went to the theater not having read any plot description or reviews. I did not want my enjoyment of the film to be sullied by a reviewer trying to give away everything in the name of “honesty”. I have come across many reviewers who like to break films down to the core without giving a spoiler warning of any kind. This film just hit theaters and it wouldn’t be fair to talk about everything.
The film stars Russel Crowe as a guy who gets paid to beat people up. He is kind of like what Wade Wilson in Deadpool was, only before he became Deadpool. Crowe is paid by a girl to get people to stop following her. The person who is following her is Ryan Gosling, a private investigator who Is hired by a different woman’s aunt to find her. Crowe and Gosling reluctantly team up to find out what is going on.
The plot of the film is calls back to the time of the film noir, a genre that has died except for writers like Shane Black who come along and make another one, only with more nudity and violence. Black is a pro at this genre, having written and directed the wonderful Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. There the film played more like a comedy while The Nice Guys plays more like a drama. There are still laughs, but not as much.
Los Angles is Black’s favorite town to set his films and here he uses the city very nicely. He shows us the gas shortage and the backed up freeways and the smog. He gives it all to us. (The CGI here is really well handled and is used to support, not to add). The film’s plot has a lot to do with some big events in the late 70’s and Black has gotten the look and the feel down pat.
It was nice to see Crowe in a film like this. He usually goes for the more dramatic work. He is great here, giving us a character that is a tough guy, but is also vulnerable. Gosling is very funny as the P.I. who tries to work the case while also trying to be a father. Gosling is given most of the comedic bits, but Crowe gives us a few lines here and there and is down for the lighter bits that are sprinkled throughout. Angourie Rice plays Gosling’s daughter who goes along with her father for most of the film. In fact, she drives her father around L.A. despite being thirteen. She steals the show as a girl who has to take care of her father while also trying to be a normal kid.
Black also gives us a peppering of bad guys, but they really aren’t that memorable. Even a veteran like Keith David gets lost in the shuffle of the plot. There is a lot going on.
I really liked The Nice Guys, but I can see how people can be disappointed with the film. The film starts out kind of slow and doesn’t get revving until about half an hour in. Once the film does get going it stays at that speed for the rest of the running time. I can see how people can get thrown off by this. Audience members usually give a film about twenty minutes before shutting the film off or going to another theater. Given the chance, The Nice Guys does deliver the goods.
Black is working on the new Predator film, which starts shooting in 2017. I have high hopes for that film as well. Black gives us great characters and puts them into interesting, and sometimes funny, situations. I am really intrigued on how he is going to tackle Predator. There have been many directors who have come and gone over the last five years and hopefully Black is going to give us a great film. See The Nice Guys. It is worth the time. It is a very funny film..
Jimmy P is an avid film lover and tries to get out to the theater as much as possible. He is also a collector of DVDs and Blu-rays. Jimmy P lives with his wife in Parts Unknown.
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