Much like his first directorial outing Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Shane Black’s film The Nice Guys is a subversive, if slightly more mainstream, take on the buddy-cop genre. It ranks with the 21 Jump Street movies as one of the best action-comedies in recent times and cements Shane Black’s position as one of the most talented screenwriters working today.
Being a Shane Black film, I won’t begin to explain the film’s plot as it is rather complex and at times convoluted. However, I will say that it involves Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe reluctantly teaming up to investigate the suspicious death of a major porn star named Misty Mountains. To tell you any more would be ruining the fun.
One of the strongest elements in the film is the chemistry shared between Gosling and Crowe. Gosling has never been funnier and Crowe is rather restrained as a somewhat unhappy muscle-for-hire. Together, they present two very different characters whose only similarity is that they are both deeply flawed individuals. One of the finer points in the film, however, is young Australian Angourie Rice, who is astonishingly good as Gosling’s feisty and wise-beyond-her-years daughter, Holly. Rice provides much of the emotional heft in the film, and shares some surprisingly touching moments with Russell Crowe.
An issue I had with the film was mostly to do with the use of Kim Basinger. Although she is advertised to have a large supporting role in the film, Basinger only turns up for 2 scenes and is rather wasted with a two-dimensional character.
Overall, The Nice Guys ranks with The Witch and Deadpool as one of the best films of 2016 so far and proves that you can make a smart AND funny film.