“The Nice Guys” is a phenomenal comedic showcase for Ryan Gosling

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As a huge fan of Ryan Gosling and Shane Black’s underrated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, I had a pretty good feeling that The Nice Guys was right up my alley. So, perhaps it wasn’t a shock that I loved this movie. Still, it was an absolute pleasure to watch Black again ace the buddy cop genre. As much fun as anything I’ve seen this year, it’s an absolute hoot. Opening this week after a successful debut at the Cannes Film Festival, it really should be a big hit, provided audiences are actually aware of its existence and subsequent quality. My fingers are crossed, but I’ll do my part here to sell you on it too. It’s one of 2016’s best to date.

The film is an action comedy film noir, if that makes sense. Set in the late 1970’s, it follows two private investigators who are brought together to look into the disappearance of a young lady that may be tied to the death of a porn actress. The private eyes couldn’t be more mismatched, but they do make a good team. Holland March (Gosling) is an alcoholic bumbler, but also an occasionally talented sleuth, someone holding it together for his daughter Holly (Angourie Rice). Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a straight laced enforcer, one we meet as he’s being paid to break Holland’s arm. Of course, as they bicker and investigate the case, things aren’t as they seem and a large scale conspiracy is revealed. Black directs and co-writes with Anthony Bagarozzi, while the supporting cast includes Kim Basinger, Matt Bomer, Keith David, Jack Kilmer, Beau Knapp, Margaret Qualley, and more.

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I loved just about every aspect of The Nice Guys, so kudos to Black there, but in particular what I want to highlight is how I loved the physical comedy put forward by Gosling. He can do slapstick in a way that’s just an utter delight. Crowe is very good here too, but Gosling steals the show in a big way. Black knows how utilize actors, and just like he did in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, he gives Crowe and especially Gosling room to both play and shine. For my money, it’s one of the best performances of his career and a comedy highlight for an actor who really should do this thing more often.

Awards wise, I suspect we won’t really see too much attention paid to this one, but there’s a chance it could break out. If this is a financial hit and Warner Brothers feels bold, we could see campaigns launched in Best Picture, Best Director (for Black), Best Actor (Crowe and/or Gosling), Best Supporting Actor (Crowe and/or Gosling), Best Supporting Actress (for Basinger or Rice), Best Original Screenplay (for Bagarozzi and Black), Best Production Design, and Best Film Editing. Honestly, aside from potentially Original Screenplay for the duo of Bagarozzi and Black, it’s likely Gosling or bust. In that realm, I think that the power players over at WB could push him into Supporting Actor in order to increase his chances. Crowe and Gosling are 100% co-leads, but we see this happen every single year, so you can’t count it out.

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Simply put, on Friday cinema audiences have a pretty special flick headed their way in The Nice Guys. If you’re a fan of Black’s prior writing and/or directing, this should be right in your wheelhouse. Ditto if you’re a fan of Gosling, in particular his comedic chops. This is one of my ten favorite things of the year so far, and I mean that wholeheartedly. It’s an absolute pleasure, blending hilarity with film noir in a mixture that works way better than even I expected. In a few days, you all will have the opportunity to see this one, and I really hope you take advantage of it. Don’t you dare miss out on this movie…

Be sure to check out The Nice Guys, in theaters everywhere this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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