Hot Take: A real popcorn flick with lots of energy and humor. The ’70s are captured perfectly. The slick, witty script is too convoluted to be truly great but damn if it isn’t entertaining.
The Nice Guys makes for a unique summer release. It has the feel of summer with it’s fast pace and slick dialogue and funny albeit ridiculous premise. The two seasoned actors — Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling — have excellent on-screen chemistry. It’s a buddy cop movie with a twist (neither are cops) and a few turns which is when The Nice Guys avoids becoming your standard summer affair. That’s a very good thing.
It’s not all good though. It’s hard not to compare Shane Black’s The Nice Guys to his Kiss Kiss Bang Bang but the similar tone forces the comparison. The problem with the comparison is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang dwarfs The Nice Guy in many ways. So, while comparisons are inevitable, they also shine light on how The Nice Guys is at least a little derivative and at worst inferior.
In many ways, the film feels like satire on other movies. L.A. Confidential, Lethal Weapon and even Abbott & Costello all come to mind while watching. The parody leads to some loose, fun humor that spotlights both Gosling’s and Crowe’s acting chops. The over-the-top action is energetic and the one outfit The Nice Guys try on that make it feel dressed perfectly for summer.
Then there’s the plot. Well, it doesn’t really hold up when you dig in even a little bit. However, The Nice Guys is so entertaining and so much fun to watch, it doesn’t really matter and actually, adds to the fun if you look past the unevenness. It’s chaotic mayhem written with sharp wit and plenty of laugh out loud moments to cover up any mess caused by Black taking this energized train off the tracks at times.
They say nice guys finish last but The Nice Guys never really feels like it’s in competition with anyone. As a unique summer flick, it stands on it’s own and doesn’t have to swim upstream in the flood of sequels and kid’s fare we’re used to being subjected to. Instead, it offers a welcome alternative and as a reward for choosing the alternative, a great time at the cinema.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Gosling and Crowe
It would be unsurprising to see this duo back on the big screen in these roles. (There’s plenty of hinting at a franchise in the making, too.) Gosling as crooked private eye Holland March delivers one of the funniest performances of the year. Crowe as tough guy with a heart of gold Jackson Healy is also strong. Together they’re electric.
- That ’70s Movie
The ’70s, pulpy noir feel provides a perfect playground for the two leads and Black’s craftsmanship. Just because it goes off course at times doesn’t make it less fun to watch and the throwback to a different era provides plenty of entertainment.
- It’s A Fun Time
The “spoiler free” cons section could have a lot more to offer than what it will but looking past some of the movies flaws is made easy by how much fun The Nice Guys was.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Cartoonish Action
After a while, the shoot-outs in movies can be a little trying especially when the guns get bigger. It might be another potshot at your standard summer action flick but it never feels like anyone is letting you in on the joke as bullets rain down on our heroes with nary a hint of danger except maybe that poor tree.