An interesting match, Russel Crowe and Ryan Gosling. The trailer already had some fun bits it, and when this happens the fear of those jokes being the best ones in the entire movie creeps to the surface. However, The Nice Guys manages to have some hilarious moments alternated with absurd action scenes. It’s all very awkward and weird and accidental, which is precisely what makes this buddy movie realistic.
Nothing goes as planned. Private detective Holland March (Gosling) and intimidator for hire Jackson Healy (Crowe) meet under questionable circumstances but end up having to collaborate on a case full of mystery and intrigue. The plot initially almost feels film noir like, but no other aspects of the movie support this. March is hired to find a girl, a porn actress, who is supposed to have died in an accident. It doesn’t take long however before the duo realizes that the scandal they are on to is much bigger than they initially thought.
Skeptical. Crowe and Gosling as buddies, however it actually works. As long as Crowe doesn’t start singing he is a renowned actor to say the least. Gosling is not someone you’d expect in a hilarious buddy movie, but he does an excellent job at playing the clumsy private detective who may know a lot, but the execution of his investigations is questionable to say the least and most of his successful moments can be attributed to sheer dumb luck. Hands on man Healy fills this hole in March’ capabilities. A big part of the investigation and the eventual success is March’s daughter, who is played by Angourie Rice, she a 13-year old girl who is kind of a loner and ignores any danger. Hence her ending up playing a vital part in the investigation. Rice reminds me of Kirsten Bell as Veronica Mars. Decisive but without thinking about the danger ahead.
What was missing was the real 1970s feel. A lot of neon, some old cars, and an awful haircut and moustache for Gosling is just not convincing enough. It doesn’t take away from the story and the comical effect, however, and as such is not a deal breaker. The story works, but what would you expect from the writer of the Lethal Weapon films, Shane Black. The mystery is more complicated than the average murder mystery and the scenarios the two protagonists find themselves will ensure a good laugh or two.
If you like detectives with a comical twist where the course of the events is decided by bad decisions and dumb luck, The Nice Guys is the movie you’ll want to see. The casting is right, even though it may have raised the initial eyebrow, Gosling and Crowe really bring this one home and may even make you longer for a sequel.