THE NICE GUYS
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5)
Russell Crowe as JACKSON HEALY
Ryan Gosling as HOLLAND MARCH
Anbourie Rice as HOLLY MARCH
Matt Bomer as JOHN BOY
Margaret Qualley as AMELIA KUTTNER
Yaya DaCosta as TALLY
Keith David as OLDER GUY
Beau Knapp as BLUEFACE
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: Shane Black
BY KEVIN CARR
While most media outlet and members of the general public were running around this summer, complaining about lackluster sequels and reboots, they were actively ignoring some of the better films out there because they were not, in fact, sequels or reboots.
“The Nice Guys” was one of those movies that was wholly original and different from most anything out in theaters right now. However, it didn’t have any existing material to build off of, so a lot of people simply passed on it. And that’s a real shame. Because “The Nice Guys” was one of my favorite movies of the summer.
Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling play private detectives Jackson Healy and Holland March, two mismatched down-on-their-luck professionals in 1970s Los Angeles. They both end up investigating a missing teenager who is mixed up in the adult film business and the city’s nefarious underbelly.
While “The Nice Guys” plays off plenty of familiar tropes like the hard-boiled detective stories and the nostalgia of the 70s, it’s a fully original movie that is wildly entertaining and not predictable. With Shane Black at the helm, you get a sharp and witty film with plenty of heart and likeable characters – whether they be the anti-hero type that Crowe plays or the more traditional flawed hero that Gosling plays. Although it’s an entirely different movie than Black’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” it’s cut from the same cloth and taps into the same veins of sarcasm, debauchery, darkness and humor.
The real crux of the film is the interplay between Crowe and Gosling, who are both quite generous considering how brightly their stars have burned in the past. Crowe manages to play the heavy with a heart of gold, showing some depth of character and a likeability that soars above his tough guy image.
Similarly, Gosling sheds his too-cool persona and plays a bit of the bumbling idiot in this movie. A decade ago, I had marginalized him as an actor because I felt he only played a certain type of character. However, over the past few years, Gosling has made some fantastic out-of-the-box choices for his acting roles and gives us a great look at his flexibility and versatility as a performer.
It’s a real shame that not enough people saw this movie for it to be a hit. It’s not an easy sell to everyone in the mainstream – especially if they’re expecting something like Black’s “Iron Man Three.” However, there’s always a chance to see the movie in the comfort of your own home on disc or streaming video.
For as fun as this movie was, there isn’t nearly as much fun in the bonus materials. It’s not that the material is bad; it’s just that there isn’t much of it there. There are only two behind-the-scenes featurettes: “Always Bet on Black,” which looks at the style of director Shane Black and how the film was developed, as well as “Worst. Detective. Ever: Making The Nice Guys,” which is a basic behind-the-scenes look at the production.
One final feature, which isn’t exactly on the disc, is a phone number for the Nice Guys on the back of the Blu-ray case. If you want to leave a message for Jackson and Holland, just call (844) 4-NICE-GUYS, and get their voicemail. I left one. Let’s see if Warner Bros. uses it.