<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Shane Black. Starring Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Margaret Qualley, Keith David, Matt Bomer, Yaya DaCosta, Beau Knapp, Lois Smith, Murielle Telio, Daisy Tahan, Kim Basinger
Running Time: 1 hour 56 minutes
The Nice Guys is an unexpectedly good film, where a wonderful script by Shane Black melds with superb performances by all the actors.
Remember the good old days of buddy films when stories were about solving silly cases and watching your favourite duo bungle through the film with hilarious and awe-inspiring effect? Well The Nice Guys borrows from those great movies that we grew up on (yeah those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s).
From the moment a porn star called Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio) crashes her car into a house and a little boy who has just been ogling at her in a magazine finds her buck-naked and near death, you just know this is going to be a weird ass film.
Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a thug for hire, taking money from schoolgirls to beat up older men who are harassing them. A girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) hires him to track down people looking for her and in the process he stumbles across a Private Investigator named Holland March (Ryan Gosling) who has been hired to find Misty Mountains because her old aunt thinks she’s still alive. Amelia and Mountains are connected by the porn industry but the plot runs deeper and higher than this.
Healy and March team up eventually and March’s young daughter Holly (Angourie Rice) follows them to a Hollywood porn party as she begins to do a better job of snooping around than her dad. Hers is the heart of the film and Rice does a fabulous job. The party scene is particularly hilarious, with fun violence and sharp dialogue. And both Crowe and Gosling deliver those lines with dexterity leading to some honestly fun laugh-out-loud moments.
This kind of comedy could easily have gone awry. But Shane Black brings naturalness to the proceedings that make it all believable and enjoyable. The way he’s taken elements from other films in this genre and made them unique should be applauded.
The film isn’t afraid to shock you with violence after a funny scene. And it works well. You’re both invested in the story and having a good time watching it unfold, even though the plot isn’t central to being interested. It’s the characters that keep you watching. The chemistry between Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling is wonderful and I wouldn’t be surprised or upset if they came back for a sequel.
PS: The press show we watched seemed to be uncensored so if it does get cut it’ll be pretty pointless watching it and you’ll be distracted by a ‘Smoking is Injurious to Your Health’ caption throughout the film since Ryan Gosling pretty much chain smokes his way through it. On that note, take a look at the feature we did, Ryan Gosling always has something between his lips (with pictures)