Shane Black’s, The Nice Guys, is one of the best, if not The best, comedy of 2016. The death of a porn star in the late 70’s sparks an investigation in late 70’s Los Angeles. The story follows Jackson Healy, Crowe, the muscle for hire and Holland March, Gosling, a private eye, as they solve the mystery.
Black has written a great buddy crime comedy every decade since his debut, Lethal Weapon. In his directorial debut, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, we saw his ability to take control of his screenplay and create a funny, engaging, suspenseful, mystery. Black and writing partner, Anthony Bagarozzi, started working on the script in the early 2000’s and were not able to get it into production until Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling signed on to the project. The roles that these two signed on for are vastly different roles than we have seen them in before. This is truer for Gosling, than for Crowe, although both veteran actors play the roles perfectly.
Crowe and Gosling are hilarious and perfect for the part. Healy, played by Crowe, is rough around the edges and on the verge of being a burnout as the thug for hire. March, played by Gosling, on the other, plays the handsome, alcoholic, single parent, and con artist. Both characters see themselves as detectives, of sorts, and both walk a tight rope between virtuosity and depravity.
Both are willing to take money from anyone, be it young girls or elderly senile women. Healy will stay true to his word and complete the task, similar to “the bad” in, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, once his services have been payed for he will not be bought or compromised. March will do anything for a buck, he is not above “searching” for a missing husband that is clearly in an urn over the mantlepiece. Everything he does, however, is for his cunning daughter Holly, played by Angourie Rice.
At the end of the day they both want to help people, but their methods and lack of righteous job opportunities, that appear to be few and far between, are what keep their moral barometers misaligned. Once they both find themselves a job worth fighting for they are all-in to be “The Nice Guys”.
Directed by: Shane Black
Cinematography: Philippe Rousselot
Written by: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi
Music by: David Buckley, John Ottman
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice
Runtime: 1h 56m
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures