So, I guess I’ve found my favorite movie of the year–so far, at least. The Nice Guys did so many things right and so little wrong, it’s a shame its release will not garner the recognition it should.
Russell Crowe plays an underground enforcer who’s helping out a young girl, Amelia, trying to shake the private investigator, Ryan Gosling, who keeps following her. Crowe beats up Gosling, but soon realizes Amelia may be in danger of getting killed, and Gosling might be the man needed to assist him in protecting her. Little do they know, they’re about to get involved in a large-scale conspiracy and a string of connected murders.
The Nice Guys commits to its quirkiness and loves taking advantage of its irony. Gosling’s character won’t drive after he’s been drinking, so he makes his 13-year-old daughter drive him around instead so he won’t get in trouble.
It’s really hilarious. Not in an over-the-top Will Ferrell sense of the word, but in a very clever and cool Oceans Eleven-y type of way–with a little goofball thrown in, too. Each joke is ingeniously thought-out, but still feels very organic. While credit partially goes to director and co-writer Shane Black, we also have to praise the two leads for their brilliant delivery and conviction.
Gosling is on another level and proves he deserves to be considered a comedic actor with the best of them. Crowe, who may not get to say most of the jokes, is just as important in playing Gosling’s straight man–maybe the coolest and most realistic one we’ve seen in awhile. Their chemistry is undeniable.
Amidst all the humor is a really brilliant script in its own right. We get an enthralling mystery that unfolds perfectly as the film does. There’s a lot going on, but it’s never confusing or overelaborate. It’s old school, but new school just the same.
The only thing you might say, is that there’s some underutilized depth. But then again, not really. Both main characters are deep and complicated and interesting in their own ways. There’s more than meets the eye and not a lot is laid out for us that easily.
Black likes to make us figure things out on our own, but doesn’t ever totally abandon us. Instead of flat out stating what year it is, he drops hints, forcing us to pay attention.
Another marvel is the young actress, Angourie Rice, who plays Gosling’s daughter. She has the talent of someone twice her age, while still maintaining a healthy amount of precocity.
Based on the trailer, I knew I was going to really like this movie, save for a possible overwrought premise. But I was surprised even beyond those expectations. This is truly one of my favorite comedies in a long time. Definitely my favorite, so far, for 2016.