The Nice Guys movie poster
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The Nice Guys
The Nice Guys movie poster

The Nice Guys Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

Not entirely funny but funny enough, The Nice Guys is an entertaining buddy cop movie of sorts that benefits from a dose of dark and rough-around-the-edges humor. Starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, the caper-comedy is a fun but somewhat inconsistent slosh through 1970’s Los Angeles.

Ryan Gosling is an absolute blast as private detective Holland March, a simultaneously cunning and idiotic single father who will do or say anything for a buck. He reluctantly teams with bruiser-for-hire Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) to track down a mysterious girl named Amelia, who is being hunted by some not-so-friendly people.

Gosling is the highlight of the film, playing and embracing an against-type role in which he can let loose and be weird. That’s not to say that Crowe isn’t stellar as well--he is--and the two have terrific, offbeat chemistry with one another. Young Angourie Rice is perfectly cast as well and keeps pace with the two men at every turn.

The Nice Guys is directed and co-written by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Iron Man 3 and another Hollywood-based [and superior] murder-comedy Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang). The screenplay is a light frolick with dark undertones--innocent bystanders get shot for laughs and a bad guy falls from a building and splatters like a watermelon, just to name a couple examples--and Black and co-writer Anthony Bagarozzi deliver a fair amount of laughs.

But The Nice Guys is not a movie that everyone will enjoy. The humor won’t appeal to everyone, and there were times even I didn’t laugh at all when others were chuckling. The movie does have its flat moments. They’re always brief and not particularly painful, but Black could have trimmed and clipped a few scenes to keep the laughs--and pace--flowing.

The Nice Guys isn’t as smart or funny as Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, but it’s one of those movies that could easily become a cult classic thanks to the clever writing and strong pairing of Gosling and Crowe. It isn’t a riot, but it’s funny enough to keep things interesting.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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