You’ve seen the endless ads and the hilarious promotions and the film is finally here. The much anticipated Shane Black written and directed film The Nice Guys has hit theaters with a “kiss kiss bang bang” if I do say so myself. Set in the late 70’s and starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling comes one of the best movies of the year so far for this critic and it’s not hard to see why. The setting alone is gorgeous and encapsulating of an iconic era in American culture, full of drug fueled revolting and sex crazed young people with the Private I’s trying to do their best to solve a murder and conspiracy, the problem is that one of them is a bumbling wise guy and the other is doing his best…
Directors love to bring Los Angelas to life, not hard to see why, the cultural impact iconic elegance and grime all mesh just like their lead characters. Scorsese does it with New York and Black has done it with LA. To be upfront about it, this is a film for adults and shining star amongst the films as of late. It’s a wanted and needed change from all the large budget movies we are getting so early nowadays and instead give us a much smaller, but surprisingly complex comedy noir narrative. A pornstar gets murdered, two guys have to find out how and why it happened, from there, we are treated to an endlessly hilarious Ryan Gosling as PI and father while Russell Crowe plays the enforcer with a heart of gold? <— (That’s intentional)
The film begins with this jolt of kinetic energy and comedy that doesn’t lose steam through the whole film. It is tough for me to enjoy a lot of comedies anymore, but when they manage to produce just enthralling stories in the process of naturally being funny is when I am bought in. The plot is actually immediately beguiling and feels like L.A. Confidential meets Black’s other comedy/crime noir film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. With that being said, I found this to be a far more enjoyable film, but that’s no knock on Black’s other films. This has the x-factor that films often lack and that is somehow keeping me unflinchingly entertained for the film’s runtime. It wasn’t too short nor was it too long and the chemistry the leads possessed was effortless.
I compare this film to Krispy Kreme glazed donuts. Not because they’re decadent in nature and they make you crave more – even though that is the case – it’s because when you have Krispy Kreme glazed donuts, you realize how average donuts mostly are everywhere else, and that shows the quality this film possesses. It makes you hope for more films in the future and it would be the one time a it could make sense to add onto the stories and characters which we have recently grown to love. I can’t stress enough to you guys how funny Gosling was in this and his range just keeps on expanding and improving with each passing film he is in. Crowe as well proves he can do it all, but is using his age to his advantage and becoming the likable bad-ass he always been, but with a few extra pounds and some grey hairs he makes for an excellent straight man to Gosling’s outlandish character.
It’s a brilliant script with excellent execution to be on screen and the cast was the pleasant surprise of this year so far. Sure, these are two huge stars, but we’ve seen big stars in lots of movies and they just don’t happen to pan out, but this is a winner. Oh, keep in mind there’s lots of boobs and some funny violence in between, so if you’re thinking about taking someone to see this, let’s hope they aren’t offended. At times you think there are plot details that may get lost in the shuffle, but Black in fact makes sure to close most holes with relevancy and cohesive storytelling, a trope that is often lost in comedies.