FlixChatter Review: THE NICE GUYS (2016)

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Almost 30 years ago Shane Black made a name for himself when he wrote the buddy cop action comedy hit Lethal Weapon. He instantly became one of the most sought-after writers in Hollywood and one of the highest paid too. But when a couple of the big action films he wrote (The Last Action Hero and The Long Kiss Goodnight) tanked at the box office, his career stalled for a few years. After the big success of Iron Man 3, he’s now back on the good graces of Hollywood executives.

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Set in 1977, a private eye named Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is hired by a young woman named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) to get some goons off her back. One of the goons happens to be another private eye named Holland March (Ryan Gosling). March is sort of a multi-tasking investigator, along with stalking on Amelia; he’s also investigating the death of a porn star. This porn star’s death led the two private eyes to believe it has something to do with Amelia but before they could talk to her, she disappeared.

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With the help of March’s precocious young daughter Holly (Angourie Rice), the dual set out to find Amelia and got involved in deep conspiracy involving some powerful people. That includes Amelia’s mom Judith (Kim Basinger) and a ruthless hit man named John Boy (Matt Bomer). Those wondering about Crowe & Basinger’s reunion since L.A. Confidential, well Basinger has only got about 5 minutes of screen time here. Sadly she has become one of those actresses whose roles keep getting smaller as they get older, it’s unfortunate because she’s good actress.

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I enjoyed the script by Black and co-writer Anthony Bagarozzi, the dialog is witty. Even though the plot were kind of predictable, it’s still fun seeing things unfold as I predicted. Fans of Black’s other films such as Lethal Weapon and The Last Boys Scout will be pleased with all the f-bombs and shootouts. Black kept the tone of the film very light, though people are getting shot, beat up and every character loves to drop the f-bombs. The film definitely has the feel of a 70s flick. I also enjoy the beautiful cinematography by Philippe Rousselot, he really captured the look and feel of L.A. in the 70s.

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The performances by the two leads were quite good and their chemistry worked well together. Crowe gained some weight to play this out of shape but tough private eye. He beats and shoots people without hesitation. I wasn’t sure if Gosling can do comedy but he’s very funny as the bumbling and cowardly private eye. I’m glad they didn’t make his character into some kind of an action hero, he’s a weak man but very resourceful.

Despite my high praises, I still think it’s an average film. It’s an entertaining action comedy, just not a great one like I thought it’s going to be. If you’re fans of 70s flicks, buddy cop action comedy or the two lead actors, then I think you’ll enjoy this film.

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Have you seen ‘The Nice Guys’? Well, what did you think?

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28 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: THE NICE GUYS (2016)

  1. I wad entertained as all get out by this. Gosling has a scene chasing down a film canister that could be in a silent flick and still slay us. I was more satisfied than you but maybe that’s because 70s L.A. was my stomping grounds. Crowe looks ginormous in this. Gladiator looks like glad-he-ate-here.

  2. Now, I got a kick out of this. But then again, I enjoy seeing that period in L.A. on display in movies. Kicked my butt in actuality…but let’s not dwell on that, shall we? 😉

    Some wonderful references in the film that really brought that decade back. Especially those radio smog-alerts and that rear view of the then decrepit Hollywood sign! As I been mentioning since leaving the movie theater, I do have to note one glaring historical goof: [SPOILER ALERT] for the shoot-out at the March residence, when Holland shouts to Holly to call 9-1-1. [big screech] Emergency 9-1-1 service was first implemented in the City of Los Angeles on October 1, 1984, and was not operational in ’77. Most won’t pick up on it, though, ‘cept nice guys like Richard and me. 😉

    p.s., as I mentioned in Richard’s review the other mild musical slip-up was including Rupert Holmes’ Escape (Pina Colada Song), which was released in ’79, for this 1977 tale.

    1. I can see this movie is right up your alley Michael! Esp shot in L.A. too. I definitely will be renting this one, it sounds like a hoot! I love Crowe doing comedies.

    2. Lol, you know Michael I’ve been reading about all of those things that the film got wrong since so many things appear in the movie didn’t happen later in real life. As mentioned earlier, I was born later in the decade but love 70s flicks!

  3. I liked it more than you, maybe because I adore Gosling and his ridiculous screaming in comedies 🙂 He slayed me in The Big Short and he was fantastic here

  4. I liked it considerably more than you did from the sounds of it. I thought Crowe and Gosling played off each other beautifully and it was just a blast all around. I also found that there was just enough darkness to it that it lingered in my memory.
    Have you seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

    1. Hi Matt, my pal Ted wrote this review but yes I have seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I enjoyed that one quite a bit. I do like Val Kilmer a heck of a lot more than Ryan Gosling though, but I’m curious to see how good the chemistry between Crowe & Gosling is.

    2. Hey Matt, I thought it’s very entertaining but I was it to be great and found the story to be too generic and predictable. Yes I saw Kiss Kiss Bang Band and enjoyed that one too. I’m a big fan of Shane Black’s work.

  5. I loved this from start to finish. So much fun, a ton of laughs, an almost Coen-like plot that got more and more bizarre as it went. And their chemistry was just amazing. I’m surprised at your score Ted, but fair enough! 🙂

    1. Hey Jordan, I enjoyed it too but didn’t think the story was anything special. I predicted the outcome and who’s behind what and I was right. It’s a well made film but I expected the story to be more meaty and that’s why I only gave it 3 stars.

  6. Nice review Ted. You’re right about the plot’s predictability and Shane does favor style over substance in his direction. But I found The Nice Guys consistently entertaining and I had a lot of fun throughout the film. It’s not the second coming of The Big Lebowski but it’s a good picture nevertheless.

  7. Pingback: Weekend Roundup + Quick thoughts on ‘The Nice Guys’ (2016)

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