Remember the first time someone told you to try dipping your french fries in your Frosty? Remember how it sounded SO GROSS, but then you tried it and it changed how you saw fries and Frosties forever?
Well, that’s how I feel about The Nice Guys.
Ryan Gosling stars as Holland March, a shady Private Detective who has grown even shadier since the death of his wife. He crosses paths with thug-for-hire Jackson Healy (played by Russell Crowe) while they are both following the trail of a missing girl. They clash initially but end up working together to sort through the sleazy world of porn and politics in 1970’s Los Angeles.
What does any of this have to do with my fry and Frosty comparison?
Well, I didn’t like the sound of it at first. Russel Crowe plays it stout and dour while Ryan Gosling takes on the surprising role of comic relief. Sorry, but the part of me who has had dirty thoughts about them both didn’t buy it. Then I tried it.
It IS a little awkward at first, watching paunchy-Crowe and goofy-Gosling, especially when the latter’s antics cross over into full-blown slapstick. The longer I watched though, the more I loved them together. That’s probably because director Shane Black is behind the wheel. He’s the same man who brought us the first two Lethal Weapon movies, and though The Nice Guys has many similarities, it’s more comparable to Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang from 2005. That’s a good thing in my book because, even though there are dangerous criminals at every turn, there are also plenty of moments to laugh at.
The Nice Guys has a surprising level of sweetness as well, thanks to Holland March’s young daughter, Holly (played by Angourie Rice). She is the reason that both men want to be better people, but she also recognizes that they can only change so much. Rice has great chemistry with her two stars but not everything works in The Nice Guys. The story is convoluted, to the point that I still don’t understand the roles everyone played or why things worked out the way they did. I also wish that Kim Basinger, who plays the mother of the missing girl, had been given more material. Her role is so brief, it feels like a cameo.
The Nice Guys sure smells like a franchise, so Shane Black will have plenty time to fix the problems before Part 2. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to try this unexpected combination. Like fries in your Frosty or Ranch dressing on your pizza, The Nice Guys might sound like a horrible idea, but it’s actually surprisingly delicious. –B
(Apologies for all of the food comparisons. I was starving when I wrote this.)