The Nice Guys (15)
Directed by: Shane Black
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice
Running time: 1hr 56mins
There were many – including myself – who came away feeling let down by Shane Black’s entry into the MCU. I know, I know, this shouldn’t be the place to rant about Iron Man 3, but when the word got out that his next film would be more reminiscent of the fantastic-yet-criminally-overlooked Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, fans of Black knew they had a reason to be excited again.
And yes, the best way to sell The Nice Guys is probably as a sister film to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. That is, if the sister was a more foul-mouthed, harder-drinking, faster-quipping loose cannon, who doesn’t get invited to family get togethers much.
Let’s start again…
It’s the 1970s. Through what can only be referred to as Shane Blackian coincidence, both Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are private eyes (Gosling more above board than his counterpart) who find their paths crossed while investigating different cases that lead them to the same girl. There are twists and turns and double crosses and dead bodies aplenty, so to avoid spoiler territory let’s just say that the proverbial hits the fan when these two team up and come across the right leads at the wrong time.
And it’s a blast getting there.
As tough as nails as Crowe comes across with his dry humour and his desire to give almost everyone an ol’ knuckle sandwich, Gosling is the total opposite – at times snivelling, often clumsy, but always entertaining – it feels like they’ve been a double act their whole careers.
The jokes, as expected, are as sharp as a tack. Black has always excelled at the buddy cop dynamic, all the way back to his early work on the small arthouse film you probably never saw, called Lethal Weapon. These feel like laughs worked on over time, crafted and executed with pinpoint accuracy by a cast who genuinely seem to be having a lot of fun on screen.
You’ll laugh a lot, but there’s also plenty of personal drama and mystery to keep you invested through and through. It may be scraping the two hour mark, but The Nice Guys is a nonstop thrill ride into the perversity of the 70s porn industry and the dizzying heights and crashing lows of family life, all while being genuinely daft and realistically loveable in the same moment.
4 out of 5 Nerds