The Nice Guys (2016) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

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The Nice Guys (2016) Directed by Shane Black. With Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David and Kim Basinger. 


Directed and co-penned by Predator actor, Lethal Weapon writer and Iron Man 3 helmer, Shane Black, The Nice Guys is a slapstick action-comedy-cum-buddy-movie awash with some gloriously tacky nostalgia, blended with a 1970’s neo-noir thriller. Los Angeles. Russell Crowe is Jackson Healy, a tough-guy enforcer hired to beat on blokes for pestering/having innaproriate dialliances with young girls. One smoggy day, his path crosses with impecunious private eye, Holland March (Gosling), which begins one of the most organically funny screen pairings in recent years.

After initially bumping heads (actually, Crowe’s fist into Gosling’s head) – along with the help of Holland’s overly enlightened young daughter, Jackson and Holland pursue the missing case of Amelia (Margaret Qualley) a mysterious teenage runaway mixed up in bad business connected to the porn industry.

From start to finish, Crowe and Gosling are an absolute blast, tearing into each other and themsleves with aplomb as they relish sharing the screen. Gosling plays as disaster of guy; irresponsible father, con-man and bordeline alcoholic – struggling to make ends meet for his neglected daughter. Amid these character failings, he appears the most ill-prepared man to complete the job, yet it is his hapless nature that fuels much of the knockabout comedy and interplay.

There’s a The Waltons gag tied to a pivotal character which is indicative of the film’s aim to straddle demographic appeal. The fashions, music, scenery and interiors all combine to create a thick sense of character – a visual feast the like of which you might expect of Quentin Tarantino. Between the groovy sounds of Kool & the Gang and The Bee Gees, a goateed Gosling is rarely seen without a cigarette, alongside the short-tempered Crowe, looking heavyset and garbed in an oversized leather coat. In no small way, as we pass a roadside billboard advertising Jaws 2, it’s more 1970’s than the 1970’s.

While The Nice Guys might be too frivolous for some, going along with its carefree nature is key to understanding, and, more importantly, enjoying its overlying attributes. It sows a few sequel seeds towards the end, which, on the evidence of Crowe, Gosling and Shane Black’s deft grasp of the material, would be very welcome indeed…“and stuff”. 4/5

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About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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12 Responses to The Nice Guys (2016) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. Martin: Through the Silver Screen says:

    This is my favourite film of 2016 so far! Thought Gosling and Crowe were brilliant together and a great story that was an entirely original story! I really hope they make a sequel!

    • garethrhodes says:

      They wanted to work together on screen, and you can see why. What a pairing! Like I wrote in review, perhaps the best screen duo in recent years. I think we’ll get a sequel. I want to see them on that Wonder Woman case they were talking about.

      • Martin: Through the Silver Screen says:

        Black did say something about a sequel only if it made a lot of money which it sadly did not which amazes and saddens me in equal measure!

      • garethrhodes says:

        I just had a scout around Box Office Mojo and see what you mean. It took $36m…doesn’t allow much bargaining space with potential investors. Hopefully it’ll score big in the afterlife of the home rental market. I rented it for £0.99p as part of Amazon Prime’s Black Friday offer – now I feel bad for not contributing more. Such a fun ride.

      • Martin: Through the Silver Screen says:

        it’s such a shame given how brilliant it was that it made so little, I think it shows why Hollywood chooses to stick with sequels and reboots cos they bring in the dough more than original and new pieces of story telling

      • garethrhodes says:

        Sadly, you’re right. I like the idea of sequels, but the reboots have become tiring, over the past few years. The Terminator reboot was depressing (I only managed the first 25-mins), then we have Point Break remakes and Ben Hur remakes – pointless films that nobody asked for or wanted.

      • Martin: Through the Silver Screen says:

        I never saw the Terminator reboot but I agree these reboots that we really dont need are tiring, like the Memento reboot, something that we just dont need at all..

      • garethrhodes says:

        Wait what!?!? There’s a Memento reboot? That’s just silly. One of the most baffling in recent memory, was David Fincher’s decision to remake The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The Swedish version was spot on, and captured the essence of the book very well. Why someone of his talent would want to waste years re-doing a recently done film was never clear to me.

      • Martin: Through the Silver Screen says:

        Who knows Gareth mate? but yeah they are remaking Memento which is just dumb, like how on earth can you retell that story? it just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever

  2. Ben says:

    Loved this. One of my films of the year so far.

  3. Jason says:

    Nice review. I was surprised on how much I liked this movie. I mean I do like Gosling and Crowe in their roles and the setting and humor was pretty good and funny. Maybe it was sort of a “refresher” to see a crime noir type film arrive in 2016.

    • garethrhodes says:

      I think you’re right. The crime noir sub-genre doesn’t get anywhere near the amount of daylight it deserves. I’d be happy to see Gosling, Crowe and Black re-team for another swing.

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