By Gustavo Buenrostro
The dark comedy “The Nice Guys,” pays homage to old ‘70s buddy cop movies and brings a fresh twist to that style of filmmaking.
The film stars Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy, who is a hired enforcer who beats up people for money and is trying to figure out if he is a good man. His story intertwines with Ryan Gosling’s character, Holland March, a private eye with a drinking problem.
Crowe’s and Gosling’s performances are fantastic and their chemistry works very well. Crowe’s seriousness and sternness bounces off Gosling’s silliness and over-the-top reactions extraordinarily well and make a funny film.
The first interaction between these two characters sets up how well these two actors work together. Healy goes and talks with March, instead he is hired by a young girl named Amelia,played by Margaret Qualley.
One of the funniest scenes in the film is when both men finally come to accept that they must work together to help a client. They both go to a protest where people are playing dead in protest to the city’s pollution. The banter between Gosling and the protesters was hilarious.
One of the standout actors of the film was Angourie Rice, who plays Holly March who plays Holland’s young daughter. Her comedic timing was great and the relationship she has with Gosling and Crowe gave the film a lot of heart.
Rice’s character sees things as they are and she is the only character who is a good person by nature, unlike Crowe’s character, who wants to believe he is a good person.
The writing in the film was fantastic. Shane Black and Anthony Bagorozzi set up jokes early on and those who paid attention get a nice payoff later in the film.
The chemistry among Gosling, Crowe and Rice would not have worked as well as it did without the dialogue. The small things Rice’s character says and does give you all the the answers about why she acts like she does.
It is the same with Gosling’s character. The movie never address Holland’s drinking problem, but you know it is there because of the other characters’ reactions to Holland wanting a drink. They also never fully address why he drinks, but enough backstory through dialogue tells you all you need to know.
What’s refreshing about the film is that “The Nice Guys” doesn’t treat the audience like idiots and feed them everything they need to know.
The film lets the audience figure things out, which makes the film much more enjoyable, as well as making the film flow better.
From the opening of the film, a viewer could tell that the 70s had influence on the film. The music and the wardrobe also fell in line with the tone of the film.
What separates this film from the ‘70s is the seriousness of the film. The ongoing theme of what defines a good man plays a big part in this film. It is especially apparent in Crowe’s character.
The film is a certain type of comedy and like all comedies, it is an acquired taste. The dark humor might be a turnoff to some audience members.
“The Nice Guys” is one to check out. It offers good acting and a solid plot, a nice break from all the action-filled superhero films that are out right now.