2016’s summer blockbuster season is just getting started but is already getting crowded. With competition between franchises getting fierce, is there really room for a stand-alone action movie from an original screenplay? How about an R-rated comedy that is in no way connected to Judd Apatow?
Apparently not so much, considering its unremarkable performance at the box office so far, despite generally good reviews and two big stars. It can be hard to find the time to see everything that’s out there and I know priority has to go to seeing the latest installment of all your favourite franchises but I am quite sure you won’t regret making some time for The Nice Guys.
A thug-for-hire with a heart of gold (Crowe) and a cynical private eye (Gosling) team up to search for a missing girl who seems to be connected to a murdered porn star and has somehow caught the attention of the justice department. And it all takes place in 1977 Los Angeles with an excellent sense of time and place.
After A Good Year, Crowe’s last attempt at headlining a comedy, it’s a pleasure to see one finally play to his strengths. The Nice Guys uses his tough guy image to its advantage instead of trying to make us forget about it. Paired with the ever-versatile Gosling, they are just as hilarious as writer-director Shane Black’s previous pair of detectives in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
The Nice Guys works because the escalating insanity rarely feels contrived or forced. As a team, Crowe and Gosling are just dysfunctional enough to be funny but competent enough to be almost believable. Best of all, the movie has just enough darkness to it that it’s not easy to forget.