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.
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 […]