Director: Shane Black
Cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David, Kim Basinger
Runtime: 1 hr 39 mins
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scene and Nudity)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Official Website: http://www.theniceguysmovie.com
Opening Day: 19 May 2016
Synopsis: “The Nice Guys” takes place in 1970s Los Angeles, when down-on-his-luck private eye Holland March (Gosling) and hired enforcer Jackson Healy (Crowe) must work together to solve the case of a missing girl and the seemingly unrelated death of a porn star. During their investigation, they uncover a shocking conspiracy that reaches up to the highest circles of power.
You see, some movies, as recycled as their plots are, are fun to watch. One huge reason is the stars helping the show. Admit it - while we go on and on about how we are critical about a film’s originality, a large part of us is compelled to step into the cinema because of the actors headlining the flick. This reviewer is a big fan of Maggie Gyllenhaal, and he wouldn't hesitate to buy a ticket to see her on screen - even if she only appears for three seconds in a plotless movie. Okay, just saying.
For this movie, it is hard not to fall in love with leading men Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. Really, you have to watch this serviceable movie to experience how addictive their on screen chemistry is.
The latest work from Shane Black, who made his directorial debut with 2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, is treading familiar grounds in his newest work (the 54 year old filmmaker also directed the mega blockbuster Iron Man 3). The Pennsylvania born is responsible for writing Lethal Weapon (1986), The Last Boy Scout (1991), Last Action Hero (1993) and The Long Kiss Goodnight (1994) - you get the idea here.
Co written with Anthony Bagarozzi, this mystery comedy movie centres its story on the death of porn star (you gotta love the name: Misty Mountains), and another missing girl named Amelia. Everyone seems to be looking for them. Enter Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and Jackson Healy (Crowe), who each has his own reasons for taking on the case. In the mix is Amelia’s mother (Kim Basinger), who happens to be the boss at the state’s Department Of Justice (you can already smell something fishy going on here), Holland’s teenage daughter Holly (Angourie Rice), and eye candy in the form of Matt Bomer, who plays, well, we won’t spoil the fun for you.
If you haven't already spotted Black’s trend, we have two likeable screw ups here, who are desperately seeking something in their separate lives, yet connected by a desire to solve the case. Gosling doesn’t play the pretty boy here (for some strange reason, his moustache is a hoot to look at), and Crowe isn’t the macho hero (the New Zealand born star reminds us that a true man is measured by his belly). This is a refreshing pair, and the sharp and occasionally witty dialogue only complements the chemistry between the two men.
The movie also brings out what people love about the 1970s: the music, the loud fashion, the choking cigarette smoke and the so bad it’s good pop culture. There is even an awkward but hilarious scene involving a talking bee that seems psychedelically weird in retrospective.
This movie obviously isn’t high art (it did premiere at the recent Cannes Film Festival though, thanks to the power of marketing), but it is a good natured and fun comedy to watch. Kudos to Gosling and Crowe for coming together (why didn't this happen earlier, you wonder), reminding us that star power remains one of the biggest reason why we go to the movies.
(The comedy doesn't tread new ground, but Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe's on screen chemistry is smashingly bromantic to watch)
Review by John Li