Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling star in a 1970’s set comedy thriller from the man behind Lethal Weapon, and a lot of other movies set during Christmas.  Shane Black who also brought us Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, one of the more under-rated movies in the last twenty years takes these two actors known for their serious roles and gives them a shot at comedy.

I have to admit that when I heard about this film I was curious to see how Crowe and Gosling managed to do comedy.  I know that previously they’ve done some comedy work but an out-and-out comedy action thriller would be another thing.  For Crowe I’ve always hoped he’d do a comedic role because when you see him in interviews he has a natural charm that has never really been transferred to film before.  Gosling I don’t know too much about, as he fired me as his body double years ago, I don’t know why.

Anyway the film starts and an alum of Shane Blacks Iron Man 3 cast pops up, then a Playboy Model crashes through his house and dies.  Next we’re introduced to Crowes Character who is a hired thug, stopping older men taking advantage of young girls.  Gosling plays an alcoholic Private Eye with no morals an old beyond her years Daughter.  The two men come together when one of their cases crosses paths.  They are trying to find a young girl that is stuck in the middle of a huge case about Cars.

If you go into the cinema and expect Kiss Kiss Bang Bang but set in the 1970’s you’re going to come out of this disappointed.  Go in and expect to see two great performances from actors that we know and sometimes love, and a witty script that will keep you smiling through the whole of the running time.  That’s all you have to do.  Don’t get too bogged down in the pedigree of the previous films of either star, the director, or the writers, and just let yourself be entertained.  It’s that simple.  Crowe and Gosling have a great chemistry together and if there is a complaint from my old bones it’s that they should have had more banter between the two, but it’s clear that they enjoy working together and it’s great to see them bounce back and forth.

The sexism of the 70’s is clear and right in your face, but the setting works, because with the plot behind the missing girl being a little confused but right about the time, I doubt you could make a modern setting for this film working.  I loved the Waltons references and the whole production nails the 1970’s feeling.  The soundtrack is nice and doesn’t overplay the decade but rather serves the story well.

The revelation in the film is young Angourie Rice, who plays Holly, Gosling’s Daughter.  Her mature nature and constant disappointment of her Father and his questionable morals gives the film a much-needed spirit.  Is she the new Dakota Fanning? Do we need a new Dakota Fanning?

What The Nice Guys gives us is what we all need from time to time, a great screwball comedy that pits too acting heavyweights against each other in a strange comedy that doesn’t run by the numbers.  Shane Black is known for wanting to paint outside the lines and we’re always thankful when he’s allowed to do so.  I wonder what Iron Man 3 would have been like if he had more control over it than he says he had, maybe it would have been good.  The Nice Guys is worth going to see in the cinema, it’s perfect for date night, and even bring a few friends with you.  I doubt anyone will leave the cinema feeling sad.  It’s not that it’s uplifting, it’s just damn fine entertainment.  Give it a go.

Director: Shane Black
Writers: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi
Stars: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice



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