Shane Black returns to write and direct stuck in the ’70s super sleuth comedy with an unusual cast of Russel Crowe, Ryan Gosling and introducing 13 year old Angourie Rice (now 15).
As Black demonstrated in the parody but dark Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and the high budget and edgy Iron Man 3 he looks to laugh at Hollywood’s vanity using the detective genre rather than full on action. Though the plot may feel like a episode of CSI with the ‘it all connects’ moments for when the penny drops, the overall energy and pacing of the story will leave you feeling satisfied.
We follow the story of Jackson Healy who is sent to beat up a shifty guy searching for his client, Amelia. Though good at heart Healey’s first love is money, emotions a distant second you soon come to realise that he the guy he beat up is a private eye searching for Amelia as she was last seen working with the niece of his client. The niece, famous porno actress, Misty Mountain recently died in a car crash. Does Aunty need her glasses checked or is Misty alive? Amelia holds the key to this mystery.
Our crooked Private Eye is Holland March, drunkard by day, drunkard by night and full time terrible father. At the age of 13 his daughter is driving him from hospital ‘home’, a stately rental booze-soaked joint, due to his negligence and well their previous house going out in smoke…with the mother. As much as Ryan Gosling playing him perfectly as a creepy, you can’t help but like March and his bad luck. He manages to survive the most absurd of situations with help from his daughter and later Healy.
As the plot thickens the isn’t just the case of figuring out who murdered the porn star but what was contained in the star Misty’s movie “What do you think of my car Big Boy?”. Black blends in splatter all over the film and with slapstick script which create great banter between March and Healy as well as awkward situations with the villains.
The music is on point, choosing cream or cream tracks from the ’70s and even the live band used in a party is ‘Earth, Wind and Fire’ impersonators which made me smile. Little details like abstract art and movie posters really gave the film the feel it needed with references to Star Wars, Jaws 2, The Temptations, Kiss and more.
Overall The Nice Guys is a cheerfully aimless plunge into a neon-noir LA Detective story with a soul. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling’s mismatched private eyes could result in having their own spin off series at the end of the movie. Expect a lot of laughs, lots of deaths, swearing and stuff.
I give it 5 bullet casings.
THE NICE GUYS
Director: Shane Black
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Murielle Telio Matt Bomer, Keith David
Released: June 3rd 2016
Running time: 1 hour, 56 minutes