By Michael Kaye
The Nice Guys (Review)
The summer movie season of 2016 is off to a great start! Captain America: Civil War is still king of the box office, I found a new favorite director in Ben Wheatley, and this weekend was a fantastic showcase for comedies for all ages! The whole family gets to enjoy The Angry Birds Movie, while the adults rush out for Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and Shane Black's latest action/comedy thriller, The Nice Guys!
Here's the story. A mismatched pair of private eyes investigate the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles, while uncovering a major conspiracy in the process.
I LOVE this movie! It was my most anticipated mainstream film that wasn't based on a comic book or took place in the Star Wars universe, and it was so worth the wait! Here are some of the highlights.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
First, I have to talk about the cast, which Shane Black always seems to nail 100%! Even back when he was just a writer, he struck gold with the pairing of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover for the Lethal Weapon franchise, and it's only gotten better since. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe work about as well off each other as some of the best dynamic duo's in Hollywood. Think of them like a modern day blend of Abbott and Costello with the genuine acting chops of Paul Newman and Robert Redford. I hope to see these two collaborate more in the future, because they were absolutely hysterical! But even they aren't the showstoppers in the film. That title belongs to a few people actually. One of them is Angourie Rice, who plays Holland March's daughter Holly. Think of her like Penny from Inspector Gadget, but without the gadgets. The others are the villains, played by Keith David, Matt Bomer and Beau Knapp, who I should apparently sue for using my likeness without permission.
Once again, Shane Black crushes it both as the writer and director! Let's focus on the writing first, which was probably the most entertaining dialogue I have heard this year. Co-written by executive producer Anthony Bagarozzi, it's got everything you'd expect from a Shane Black movie: witty banter, voiceover narration, and a compelling murder mystery that keeps you guessing the whole way through. And while the whole movie isn't set during Christmas, there's still one scene thrown in at the end complete with decorations and "The Man with the bag" playing in the background. It adds nothing to the film other than a cherry on top of an already delicious sundae. Sounds an awful lot like a spiritual successor to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but with a twist. This time, the roles have been reversed, with Ryan Gosling playing the fool who happens to be a detective, while Russell Crowe is the straight man coming along for the ride, and yet both of them are idiots compared to Holly, who essentially takes Michelle Monaghan's role in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, minus the love interest.
Another thing that sets this movie apart from KKBB is the action. Los Angeles in the 1970's was insane compared to what it's like now. The lines were pretty blurry between the film industry and the porn industry, and all the other corruption that comes with it. With March and Healy caught right in the center of this crazy conspiracy, it leads to some balls to the wall action scenes. This is a genre that Black is very passionate about, which explains why he's committed to directing future installments of the Predator franchise and possibly Doc Savage.
Finally, it's the 1970's, so of course the music's gonna be awesome. John Ottman returns to compose the score, and he's brought a friend with him, David Buckley. He's best known for films such as The Forbidden Kingdom, The Town, and the upcoming Jason Bourne. As for the soundtrack, I immediately cracked a smile when the opening credits were set to "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" by The Temptations, and from there we got other classics from acts such as Earth, Wind & Fire, The Bee Gees, America, The Band, and more.
The Nice Guys was everything I wanted it to be, and then some! I wanted a good buddy dynamic between Gosling and Crowe, a compelling murder mystery, an amazing action sequence, and a groovy soundtrack, and I left feeling very satisfied! Come on guys, this one could really use your support, especially if you want to see more from these characters.
Now it's your turn! Have you seen The Nice Guys yet, and if not, what are you waiting for? Also, what other films would you like to see Gosling and Crowe in together? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned for my next review, where the X-Men take on their biggest challenge yet in X-Men: Apocalypse!