Sunday, February 26, 2017

Detecting Fun: Shane Black Triumphs

Movie Review: The Nice Guys

Director: Shane Black

Reviewed: 26 February 2017

jamesintexas rating--***1/2

I just think that Shane Black had so much fun writing and making this movie.  It really shows.  A 70's gumshoe mystery with a quirky chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, The Nice Guys finds itself awash in disco hits, fantastic fashion, goofiness, and serious fun.  I loved its sense of humor, its quick wit, and its easy interplay between two very strong performances.

Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a punchy unofficial private detective.  Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a more legitimate version of the same and a single dad who cannot smell.  They team up to find a missing girl who may be on the run from killers.  The plot connects to a dead woman found in a mysterious car crash (an audacious opening scene), some tough guys from Detroit, an extended sequence at a local pornographer's party pad, and a number of silly twists and turns along the way.

Gosling is an adept physical comedian, and his scene in the bathroom stall is one of the best of the year.  Crowe, older and bigger and a bit world-weary as his character keeps staving off attempts to give him drinks, has fun here as well, riffing a bit on his image and his past role in LA Confidential.  The supporting cast of Matt Bomer, Keith David, Kim Basinger, and the voice of Hamilton Burress.  I think with its winks to Raymond Chandler, its cleverly staged action pieces, its sharp dialogue, and its commitment to telling a genre story in an interesting way, it easily is one of the most underrated films of the year. 

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