After seeing The Nice Guys, I feel like the trailers for the film made it really difficult to decide whether it was going to be good. The trailer gives you non-connected moments before and after what feel like the jokes, so you can’t really tell if the movie is going to be funny or not. This film definitely suffers from Bad Trailer Syndrome. Hey, it’s a thing, I swear.
It’s a shame the trailer has that feel, because now that I’ve seen The Nice Guys, I can honestly recommend it. It IS actually funny, and it has a retro charm to it. It’s a fun, old-school buddy cop kind of movie that we don’t really see anymore. And it’s written and directed by Shane Black, the guy that pretty much created the genre.
In 1977, two mis-matched private eyes investigate the apparent suicide of a porn star in Los Angeles.
Shane Black made his career on this genre. He wrote Lethal Weapon, and the rest is history. But he certainly has a knack for taking two characters with different personalities and creating a certain square peg/round hole comic chemistry. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are Jackson Healy and Holland March, respectively.
Healy is a P.I., but not exactly licensed, doesn’t drink, and tires to live by some kind of rules, even though he’s what you call ‘the muscle’, and has no problem using that to his advantage. March is a licensed P.I. and has a daughter who is smart – and savvy – due to her father drinking a bit too much, and becoming increasingly more cynical, ever since his wife died.
These guys sometimes seem like they aren’t getting the job done, but then surprise you every once in a while. And their on screen chemistry is great. They seem to be having fun doing this film and their dialogue is funny and natural.
I noticed that some of that funny dialogue comes off screen as a scene is about to change. There are at least a couple times I laughed at something someone said as they walked off camera, so if you see this, pay attention to what you hear because you might miss something funny when you least expect it.
Another fun thing about The Nice Guys is the setting. It’s 1977 Los Angeles and there are lots of shots of the city, Hollywood, the Hills, West Hollywood, that I recognize, but they also seem to do some CG tweaking to make it look like it did then. And they add lots of CG smog to the skyline – there was a lot more of it in the ’70’s.
The overall production design is great, and the cast is spot on, with people like Matt Bomer as the bad guy named John Boy (you’ll get some Walton’s references throughout), Keith David, Kim Basinger, and even Gil Gerard (remember Buck Rogers?).
Two mysteries converge here that lead to a larger investigation for Healy and March that take them to Hollywood Hills porn parties, seedy L.A. bars and all sorts of shenanigans in between. Yes, there’s nudity, violence and language, everything you want in an ‘R’ rated film. Ok, well, it’s everything I want in an ‘R’ rated film. If this kind of crime comedy/drama is your thing, you’ll have a good time. Just about four kittenhands from me. I enjoyed The Nice Guys more than the trailers would have led me to believe.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, pleasantly surprised here. The trailer does NOT do this film justice.