The Nice Guys Finish First
Are you tired of comic book movies? Deadpool pretty much blew the lid off of all the tropes and now I can’t watch them seriously. I’m not tired of them, however, but I do wish there was more variety at the box office. It took the director of Iron Man 3 to give us a fun summer movie that doesn’t have any superheroes in it. Enter The Nice Guys, Shane Black’s fun and hilarious new action comedy.
I’ve already given away my punchline; I really liked this movie. I would encourage anyone who think they might enjoy it to go see it in the theater. Maybe Hollywood will take a chance and make more movies with good scripts and fun characters. If you watch the trailer, you’ll know right away if this movie is for you. It’s basically a throwback to both 80s buddy cop movies and R-rated comedies, complete with sex, drugs, and rock and roll. I’ve embedded the trailer for your convenience.
Russell Crowe plays an enforcer and Ryan Gosling plays a private eye. Their paths cross on two separate jobs involving the same person, so they decide to team up. Hilarity and sometimes heart pounding action ensues. Those are the basics, but the script is rich with hilarious dialogue and absurd situations that I won’t ruin here. Instead, I’ll just share my pros and cons about the movie without giving too much away. (Go see it!)
The Nice Guys: Pros
- The comedy. This movie is the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time. The humor comes from the situations, mostly, but Black’s script also has several one-liners and monologues that had me laughing out loud. If you like R rated comedies from the 80s, you’ll love this film. I will warn the more sensitive viewers that the movie earns its R-rating. If you’re offended by jokes about sex and violence, stay away. For all you fellow degenerates, dig in and enjoy!
- The action. The Nice Guys is not only funny, but it’s action packed. The gun battle in the film’s climax is quite impressive, and leaves you at the edge of your seat, while still being funny. That can’t be an easy task. The movie is a comedy, but it’s by no means a spoof; there are quite a few scenes which the tension is palpable and you fear for the lives of the characters.
- The characters. In addition to Crowe and Gosling, the movie is full of rich, fleshed out characters. Special praise goes to Angourie Rice and Margaret Qualley, who play Gosling’s daughter and the missing teen at the heart of the case, respectively. Rice’s Holly follows along on many of her father’s misadventures, and she nails it. You might think, “Ugh, a kid sidekick” but you’d be wrong. She’s great and her presence adds an extra element of danger. Qualley’s Amelia isn’t on screen for long, but in her handful of scenes, she steals it. In addition to the leads, Black has peppered the movie with memorable one-off and side characters. A one-off child actor actually has the funniest line in the movie, in my opinion.
- The chemisty. Crowe and Gosling play off each other perfectly. Gosling plays a corrupt private eye with a heart of gold, and he’s just slightly dumb. Crowe is more of the tough-guy, no nonsense enforcer who wants to be a private eye, and is actually a better one than Gosling. Their banter and relationship sell the whole movie, and they couldn’t have done a better job.
- The setting. The movie takes place in Los Angeles, 1977. It has an LA noir feel, and the time and place are front and center for the entire runtime. I wasn’t alive in 1977, but I felt like I was after viewing this film. The music, the movie billboards, the smog, the costumes; everything screams LA: 1977. Kudos to the art department.
- The direction. Black’s direction is spot on. He knows how to use these characters, and he knows how long his scenes need to be for the biggest impact. Since he also wrote the screenplay, he obviously knew the intent of the writer.
The Nice Guys: Cons
The Nice Guys is great, however no movie is perfect.
- The resolution. No spoilers, but I felt the resolution of the film was a bit anti-climactic after a development that was much bigger in scope. I can’t really get into it further without spoiling the end of the movie. I thought the movie was over after said development, but it went on for fifteen minutes longer. Those fifteen minutes were great, but it felt less important.
- The plots. Not the plot of the movie, but the plots of both Amelia’s friends and of the antagonists. There’s corruption at the highest levels, but the group’s plan to expose it and the plot to suppress it are both pretty stupid. When the plan was revealed, I thought to myself, “That won’t work. Nobody cares.” Maybe I’m just jaded.
- A couple loose threads. There are one or two scenes that I thought should have been developed slightly more, as there was potential for some hilarious blowback. This is a very minor gripe, though.
- The spoilers. This isn’t the fault of the movie, but the marketing. There are a couple of major spoilers in the trailer, so I already knew what was going to happen to one of the major villains as soon as he appeared on screen. A couple of funny jokes were spoiled, as well. Luckily, the funniest bits are NOT in the trailer, so go see the movie!
The Nice Guys is a great time. The script is hilarious, the performances and direction are excellent, and the action is well-staged. If you want Hollywood to make more smart comedies, go see this movie in the theater, do not wait for the Blu Ray. Thanks for reading!
Story: ★★★ of 5
Action: ★★★★ of 5
Comedy: ★★★★★ of 5
Visuals: ★★★★ of 5
Overall: ★★★★½ of 5
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