After languishing on Hollywood’s black list for a few years Shane Black’s The Nice Guys has finally been released and it’s a triumph, a messy blood-splattered triumph, but a triumph none the less.
Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe star as Holland March and Jackson Healy respectively, our titular ‘nice guys’ who are anything but nice.
March is a sleazy PI, struggling with his tween daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice) while Healy’s an enforcer with a heart of gold – sort of.
This buddy cop-comedy/neo-noir thriller sees our, only slightly incompetent, duo taking the case of their lives when they accidentally become embroiled in a conspiracy involving, cars, cash and most interestingly porn
The Nice Guys is a wonderful return to form for Black, after the rather forgettable Any Day (forgive me Sean Bean), balancing out the action with hilarious character beats and pitch black comedy.
The film draws the majority of its humour from the interaction between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, with the pair’s incessant bickering easily being the best thing about the picture.
The film’s dark, but always hilarious, over the top violence only added to the insanity of the film and I found myself grinning and laughing like a loon from the very first car crash.
The issue with The Nice Guys is that for a neo-noir crime caper the story just isn’t tight enough instead revelling in word play and indulging its messed up characters over a truly satisfying narrative.
This leads to elements of the story annoyingly being picked up then dropped with nary a care in the world.
In particular there’s a strange bond bond between between Healy and Holly that never quite worked for me and served to slow the film down adding very little to the over all narrative.
Meanwhile Gosling’s P.I., March, has a much more satisfying arc that’s genuinely interesting at times, but fails to add anything beyond the illusion of depth.
These weren’t major problems though because the the film’s clearly not interested in telling those stories. Instead like the drunken March it’s much more interested in having fun and demonstrating how terrible March and Healy are in their personal and private lives.
It doesn’t quite reach the wild heights of Lethal Weapon or The Last Boy Scout but for me this was a great movie, which may not be for everyone but Shane Black fans are sure to love it.