The Nice Guys (2016)

casey I’m calling it: Ryan Gosling is one of the great comedic actors of his generation.
And The Nice Guys is one of my favorite movies this year.

brooke It was an incredibly entertaining, dark, action-packed, dramatic comedy.

casey It’s fun, hilariously convoluted, and nails the feel of a seedy 1970s Los Angeles as well as any movie I’ve seen. It echoes one of my other favorite movies in the genre, director Shane Black’s debut film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

brooke Yeah, Black definitely refined his art for this one. The Nice Guys was completely not what I expected. Not many movies so seamlessly combine a real sense of drama with great comedy, but Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling did a fantastic job of it.

casey It tells the story of Holland March, a private investigator (Gosling), and Jackson Healy, a freelance enforcer (Crowe), who, along with March’s precocious tween daughter Holly March (Angourie Rice), find themselves enmeshed in a caper involving kidnapping, arson, the pornography industry, the Department of Justice, and Detroit auto makers, which I won’t even bother explaining because 1. I’m not completely sure I can and 2. It doesn’t really matter. What drives this movie is the chemistry between the lead actors, and the variety oddball situations they encounter.

brooke It’s a great team up between Gosling’s drunken PI and Crowe’s musclehead with a heart of gold. The movie begins by introducing its central mystery, that of  a murdered porn star and a missing girl, and then cuts to Healy beating the stuffing out of March. But before long, events transpire that force the pair to team up to find the girl. Like you said, Gosling and Crowe have incredible chemistry as they drag each other to the finish line… often literally. They search high and low at a surprising number of parties (all of which include March getting falling-down drunk and Healy doing most of the actual work).

casey One thing I appreciated was that in Holly the film managed to include a child character who is neither irritating nor exploited for cheap drama. She’s funny, resourceful, and her relationship with March contributes meaningfully to the story.  And although there are scenes of gruesome violence (often played for laughs), the film isn’t cruel to its main characters. I’m not claiming that there’s a lot of depth in Nice Guys, just more than you’d expect for a movie like this, which makes it incredibly compelling, even during the few scenes that don’t work.

brooke There’s a lot of initial confusion, but the movie gets better and more interesting as it goes. There are multiple levels to the caper and to the main characters. I love that Holly doesn’t end up feeling like a plot device, and her struggles get a part of the spotlight too. All in all, I don’t think I liked it quite as well as you did, but it’s entertaining, driven, and well made.

casey And has the best dream sequence of 2016, which you must watch to appreciate.


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