The Nice Guys Blu-ray Review
In 2005, Shane Black gave us a quirky murder mystery starring a famous actor as his star was on the rise (Robert Downey Jr.) and a still talented actor whose star was on the way down (Val Kilmer). KISS KISS BANG BANG was one of the best films of the year thanks in large part to the great screenplay and the talent of the two lead actors. Eleven years later, Shane Black has given us another quirky murder mystery starring a famous actor whose star is on the rise (Ryan Gosling) and a still talented actor whose star is fading (Russell Crowe). And again, Black might have given us one of the best movies of the year with THE NICE GUYS. It appears Shane Black has figured out a nice formula, but let’s hope we don’t have to wait another 11 years for the next one.
Holland March (Gosling) is a private detective who has made a living taking easy cases and milking gullible clients for all he can. While trying to find the missing Amelia (Margaret Qualley), March runs into Jackson Healy (Crowe), who was hired by Amelia to rough up anyone trying to find her. But after a series of events, Healy and March have to work together to find Amelia as they unravel the conspiracy and reveal how much danger she’s in.
Throughout the film, the plot is something that hangs on by a thread; at times it feels like it might unravel and derail the movie and at other times it feels like it’s going to get too involved and take us away from what’s good about the film. But Shane Black handles this very well, giving us just enough details to keep us invested in the larger conspiracy while giving his characters justification for their partnership. There’s nothing original about the story or the basic plot, but it’s very efficient for the kind of movie Black made.
As opposed to an intricate, involved murder mystery, Black put his writing time into the dialogue of March and Healy, and thanks to Crowe and Gosling, the dialogue came to life, making the film incredibly enjoyable. We know Gosling can pull off the tough guy and can do drama pretty well. He even dabbled in comedy in CRAZY STUPID LOVE, but he’s at a new level in THE NICE GUYS. It wasn’t just the physical humor or what he said, what made me laugh the most was how he said some of his lines. He also had a lot of lines that were very subtle and almost felt like they were thrown in, making me wonder if they were ad-libbed. Regardless, Gosling had me laughing every few minutes and at the same time, I was invested in what was happening on screen. A rare feat for an action-comedy and something I haven’t enjoyed this much since…well…KISS KISS BANG BANG.
But Gosling wasn’t a one man show. Since he doesn’t get the juicy roles anymore, we forget that Crowe is an incredibly talented actor and he shows off some of his tough guy chops while also providing some humor. The supporting cast is also talented, headlined by the young Angourie Rice who played March’s daughter. She was a delicate character since often times children in action-comedies are used as bait rather than developed as their own characters. Thankfully, Black used her as a legitimate part of the plot and not just as a device to get the lead characters to do something.
Although I hate this saying, I’m going to use it anyway; THE NICE GUYS was a breath of fresh air in the terrible summer of 2016. It’s smart, funny, engaging and original all at the same time. Ryan Gosling proves once again that any movie he’s in is going to be better for it (except for GANGSTER SQUAD, which we’ll just ignore) and Black cements his place as owning the action-comedy genre.
Always Bet on Black (5:25): Everyone shows up to gush over writer/director Shane Black.
Worst Detectives Ever: The Making of The Nice Guys (6:25): A quick featurette tracing the making of the film.
Very, very disappointed in the special features on this disc. It’s too great a movie to not get a commentary or a more involved making-of featurette.