RELEASED: 3rd June 2016
DIRECTOR: Shane Black
CAST: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Murielle Telio, Keith David, Kim Basinger, Beau Knapp, Yaya DaCosta, Ty Simpkins, Jack Kilmer, Hannibal Buress and Lois Smith
BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $62.7m
Set in 1977 Los Angeles, The Nice Guys focuses on single father and licensed private investigator, Holland March, being hired by the aunt of a famous porn star named Misty Mountains to find her niece whom she persistently believes is alive, even though she died earlier in the week. March accepts the job which leads to him to tracking down a girl named Amelia, which puts him on a path with muscle-for-hire Jackson Healy, who is hired by Amelia to intimidate Holland to stay away from her. Healy learns that Amelia has disappeared and that March isn’t the only party interested in her whereabouts and the two of them team up to find Amelia before the thugs do.
When it comes to the buddy-action noir-crime comedy-drama hybrid, there’s none that does it better than Shane Black. From writing the screenplays for Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight and making his directorial debut with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it’s safe to say Shane Black has his niche and knows exactly how to craft it. His highly underrated film The Nice Guys (it didn’t do as well as the studio wanted at the box office) sees Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe play private eye Holland March and enforcer Jackson Healy, two men caught in a conspiracy involving an alleged suicide of a female porn star and the disappearance of high-ranking official in the United States Department of Justice. Holland March is a man whose lost the love of his life and his sense of purpose, leading to alcoholism and coasting by in his job of being a private eye, while Jackson Healy isa tough guy that wants to be known for doing good and what’s right, but if he breaks your arm you know it’s for a good reason. The 70’s backdrop works and plays well with the story, with great costume design work from Kym Barrett and production design work from Richard Bridgland for the sets. There’s a few little touches that play into some solids laughs in the midst of the mystery drama, such as March trying to punch through glass on a door and actually putting himself into hospital in the process, then there’s March and Healy trying to find Amelia at her protest group rally and the dialogue in that scene just makes me laugh. The chemistry between Gosling and Crowe is electric here, their dynamic just feels so natural and their interactions work so well thanks to the script written by Shane Black and Anthony Bagarozzi. Jackson Healy is a typical kind of role for Russell Crowe to play, but he puts a lot of heart into his performance here, particularly in the scenes he shares with Angourie Rice, who by the way gives a terrific performance alongside Crowe and Gosling as Holland March’s daughter Holly. Ryan Gosling is the absolute scene stealer here as Holland March, his comedic timing is terrific, especially when it comes to the physical comedy aspects as he literally throws his body about the place. It’s just a shame that we’re never get that followup film of seeing March and Healy handling another case.
FAVOURITE SCENE: A drunken March stumbles down a hill during Sid Shattuck’s house party and manages to find Sid’s rotting corpse. It’s Gosling’s reaction to the discovery that sells it and it’s absolutely hilarious to watch.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: “So you’re telling me you made a porno where the plot is the point?” – Holland March
DID YOU KNOW: The project was initially proposed as a TV series but was re-tooled as a film after the plot seemed to be going nowhere.