The year is 1977. It’s the era of muscle car, protests, gas shortages and pornography in Hollywood. With very few original movie storylines so far this year (e.g. “Deadpool,” “Batman v. Superman,” “Finding Dory,” “Kung Fu Panda 3,” “Star Trek Beyond,” etc.), “The Nice Guys” is refreshing to say the least. Directed by Shane Black (“Iron Man 3”), the film is captures some of the magic of the late 70s Hollywood.
Hollywood’s obsession with other eras makes this kind of period piece special. Everything about this movie drips with vibe of the 70s. The music is funky, the air is smoggy and the suit lapels are extra wide. The set designs are fantastic, the costumes are great and so many things about the production of this movie hit high notes.
The duo of Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe work well in this film. Far from the buddy cop feel I was expecting, the characters oppose each other, but they aren’t polar opposites. Their chemistry is undeniable and the scenes between the two are stellar. While you might be used to seeing these actors in serious dramas, Gosling and Crowe’s comedic delivery is impressive. Many of the laughs come from Gosling’s excessive drinking, some jokes arise from the snarky dialogue and others come from great physical comedy. While the laughs are abounding, this isn’t a movie to be grouped together with comedies from the likes of Adam Sandler. There’s actually a good story along with it.
Gosling and Crowe, quasi private investigators, begin looking into the death of a well-known porn star. This should tell you enough about the tone of the film. “The Nice Guys” is not gratuitous with its use of sex, but enough to justify its R rating. There is some action and violence, but again, nothing close to modern action films. I almost rolled my eyes when the character of Gosling’s young daughter was in the middle of danger. At times it felt a little forced, but it didn’t detract much from the film.
Overall, I had expectations for this film going in and was not disappointed walking out. While I am more than happy to see the latest blockbuster, I cannot express how nice it is to watch a movie that was made with a lot of love and care. “The Nice Guys” is a well-made comedy with a captivating story. It’s not a terribly sophisticated film, but fast enough to feel slightly clever. “The Nice Guys” is by no means perfect, but gets a lot of things right. Simply put, it’s the best movie of the year so far.
Film: “The Nice Guys”
Director: Shane Black
Release Date: May 20