From the first punch to the final joke, The Nice Guys is on its way to be one of the best films of 2016. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe bring a performance so good you would think these guys had been performing together for years. But the love doesn’t stop there, Director Shane Black has brought together a killer team from writing to cinematography to bring a complete experience that will studios looking to revive the old fashioned buddy comedies of the 80s and 90s.
One thing that stands out to me as the biggest success of this film is the chemistry between the two lead actors and the execution of terrific comedy. Mixing great physical and written comedy is a truly difficult thing to do but Gosling and Crowe pull it off with an almost Abbott and Costello level of perfection. Russell Crowe plays the perfect straight man, ready to guide Ryan Gosling through every gag, trip, and killer joke and still manages to drop in subtle but perfect jokes. Ryan Gosling walks the fine line between silly and buffoon performing some killer slapstick and still manages to break it up with great one-liners.
I expected to see an amazing performance out of the A-list stars in this movie but I didn’t expect the knockout performance of newcomer Angourie Rice as Holland’s daughter Holly March. The character was extremely well written as you are lead to believe, at the start, that she is someone that could be a weakness for Holland or someone that will eventually be the cause of conflict for him but things quickly turn as she is revealed to be a better detective and have a cooler head than her father. She constantly gets the pair out of trouble, delivers both comedy and drama with aplomb, and becomes just as much of a hero as the major billed actors of the film.
Being much more of a character driven story than a plot driven one, the main drive of the film was pretty basic. I don’t mean to say that it was poorly created or executed but the ridiculousness of it is topped only by films like The Big Lebowski. Basically we are able to accept fully that things happen for a reason but don’t worry about it, just watch these actors bring memorable characters to life. If I could offer one criticism, the film does begin to buckle under its own weight part way through the movie. We are meant to confront the emotional consequences of the main characters, which is a totally legitimate part of storytelling, but the shock from buddy comedy to emotional story is so harsh that you find yourself a little upset at a couple of parts for making you have to deal with these character’s personal problems.
But comedy and drama aren’t the only things delivered well in this movie, at many times in the film our characters are beset with conflict that only violence can cause. Shane Black brings his usual flair with punches landing heavy, bullets raining across the screen, and an occasional intense but realistic explosion. Yet even in these intense action sequences and special effects, the characters are never lost.
This movie hit all of the right spots for me from incredible performances to outstanding directing and writing. There are only a couple of movies that I choose to add to my collection each year and I’m pretty sure this will be one of them. The comedy is quotable and the characters are lovable so do yourself a favor and get out there to see this movie.
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