The writer of Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang made his return with the 2016 buddy comedy, The Nice Guys. Starring Ryan Gosling (La La Land, Drive), Russell Crowe (The Gladiator, Man of Steel), and Matt Bomer (Magic Mike, The Magnificent Seven), A private eye and a hired enforcer form an unlikely partnership after a young woman named Amelia mysteriously disappears. Their investigation exposes them to dark and dangerous places that could see the mismatched duo end up dead. Despite being a critical darling upon release, garnering an astounding 91% on rotten tomatoes based on 320 reviews, the Shane Black vehicle barely made a dent at the box office. The Nice Guys would make nearly $12 million in its first weekend and only made $62.80 million worldwide.
So, what happened? Unfortunately, it appears that timing got the better of The Nice Guys. Based on the audience score on rotten tomatoes, audiences enjoyed the film more often than not; however, The Nice Guys came out around the time of Captain America: Civil War, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, The Angry Birds Movie, X-Men: Apocalypse, and The live-action adaption of The Jungle Book. Each film managed to garner over $100 million worldwide, with Captain America and Jungle Book making well over $800 million worldwide. The summer blockbuster season was in full effect in 2016 and it appears that gems such as The Nice Guys slipped under the radar from mainstream audiences. Though, Shane Black is the fellow writer/director that did Ironman 3, which is likely another reason why some audiences chose to skip the action/comedy. No matter the reasoning, the Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe movie is one of the best buddy action comedies to come out in some time.
Dosed in the classic Shane Black humor that made Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang hilarious films, the filmmaker’s latest movie can be strange, weird, yet compelling and intriguing. At the forefront, the film is about a missing girl filled with twists and turns as the investigation goes deeper; however, at it’s core this is a character-driven piece that tackles alcoholism, responsibility, and parenting. On the surface, Holland is a good man but the loss of his wife really damaged the private eye. He uses drinking as a coping mechanism and is kind of a bad father. It’s a relatable message and Black expertly crafts Holland’s arc without making him cartoonish or a terrible human being.
Of course, Ryan Gosling manages to bring the private eye to life thanks to his tremendous performance. The La La Land actor is able to dive into every performance he does with ease, whether it’s a romantic heartthrob (The Notebook, Crazy, Stupid, Love) or a silent badass (Drive), the veteran actor brings his charm and charisma that helps carry the film. It helps that Gosling stands alongside Russell Crowe, one of the best actors in the business. The two actors have amazing on-screen chemistry and are able to effortless swift from dramatic and comedic seamlessly. Matt Bomer‘s John Boy and Keith David’s Older Guy (that’s seriously his credited name in the movie) make for fun villains throughout the film. To be fair, anyone who proudly brags about shooting children is a twisted winner in my book. I also can’t forget about one of the biggest standouts of the film, Angourie Rice’s Holly March, who brings the heart to the film. The daughter of Holland helps humanize the alcoholic goofball and delivers some of the funniest lines in the film.
In terms of the actual story, it’s nothing too deep or political, though it’s definitely compelling and at times thoughtful. More importantly, The Nice Guys is simply fun to watch. The throwback to the 70s makes for a visually appealing film with a great soundtrack. Unfortunately, the vast amount of porn stars doesn’t amass to a huge amount of sex scenes, but luckily you’ll get be able to get over that massive disappointment once the credits roll. If there’s one criticism is the plot does become predictable towards the end. Despite the lack of unpredictability, it’s still an easy and fun watch until the end. Hey, if you’re not into sexy dead bodies, murderous psychopaths, and a Ryan Gosling that keeps his shirt on for a good 100% of the film, then I don’t know how else I can convince you to watch The Nice Guys. It’s one of the best buddy action films to come out in the last decade or two.