Film Review: The Nice Guys

Go Ahead Punk Make Me Laugh (Alot)

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WATCH THE TRAILER FOR THIS MOVIE!!!!! There’s a weird and EXTREMELY negative marketing trend of late where no doubt out fear of recouping investments, not only is the kitchen sink being dropped into the promotional trailers, but so is the garage, the garden shed, the lawn mower and the dogs water bowl and the script will be posted to you if you post the tweet #pleasetellmeEVERYTHINGaboutthemoviesotherearenosurpriseslefttosee, to say the least it’s got ridiculous.

One would think it’s slightly more understandable with certain fair that cost nearly billions to make… actually strike that! It’s NEVER okay. It’s utterly and consistently ruining the movie going experience.

Thankfully the only trailer I’d seen for director/writer Shane Black’s uproariously and chaotically funny new film ‘The Nice Guys’ (2016) was an homage to retro movies, which just gave a hint of style and irreverent naughtiness that was going to be the subject of the movie. I was already 100% sold on the names Shane Black, Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe being involved, and was adding it to the already enormous list of films to see, but it was going straight in at the top.

Shane has been honing his voice for decades fuelled by his well youth spent devouring pulp fiction noir novels that filled the shelves of his dads book collection. Despite a general overt masculinity to such fare, Shane mixed it with quirky almost neurotic traits, laser sharp dialogue and a type of feminine wile in the creation of his style of ‘buddy movie’ where we willingly fell in love with the outrageous exploits of a couple of cops Riggs and Murtaugh (Mel Gibson/Danny Glover) in the beginning of the very successful ‘Lethal Weapon’ series.

It wasn’t all plain sailing and successful detonations, there were a few mishaps along the way (The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero… maybe putting the word ‘Last’ in the titles was an omen?), but the best folk brush off the crumbled bricks, crumpled grid irons, wash of the gelignite and get back to repairing the type writer, which Shane ultimately did. He also learned to direct.

‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ (2005) was written and directed by Black upon his return, and what a come back. Staring Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer as a two individuals (cruelly) brought together by faith, circumstance, necessity and crime. Uproariously funny, quirky, whip-smart, idiosyncratic and dialogue that could give you paper cuts while sitting in the cinema, it may have not be a huge monetary success but it became an instant cult classic, and indeed it was always one of my favourites to return to for it’s joyous insanity. It’s also the absolute spiritual precursor to ‘The Nice Guys’.

Though it wasn’t a financial success, there was a definite power to ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ that resulted in Shane writing/directing ‘Iron Man 3’ (2013), and such faith returned $1.2 billion gross. Effectively Shane can do what he wants from now on.

Thankfully for us he returned to his true voice(s) of chaos, comedy, improbability, mayhem, irresponsibility, pulp and killer lines sprinkled with the innate natural comedy abilities and timings of Crowe and Gosling. At times in the most wonderful way it’s the Laurel and Hardy of our generation via Dirty Harry and The Pink Panther, with a hell of a lot more swearing, explosions, bullets, death and porn. What is there not to love?


The plot is outrageous and almost irrelevant as it’s purely a vehicle to bring the phosphorus Jackson Healy (Crowe) and the watery Holland March (Gosling) and watch the beautiful comedy explosions happen on screen. Set in 1970s Los Angeles they are somewhat ineptly trying to track down a missing porn star that as is Shane’s wont bursts into a surreal flower of colour, music and chaos. It’s often that you may forget what the origin of the story was, but you don’t care because you’re laughing so bloody hard, and more often that not at things you’re not sure you should be laughing at, but it’s such a mischievous rewarding delight.

To say that the duo are comedy gold is to do them a disservice, they are utterly FANTASTIC! There is zero doubt that the hapless duo (the only character who has any genuine knowledge of what they are doing is March’s daughter Holly, the wonderful Angourie Rice) will go on to make sequels given that Shane has said so at a recent press conference in London suitably held in The Playboy Club.

It’s wholly satisfying that the duo (and of course Angourie) will continue on to further erratic exploits as it will allow everything to develop. The movie is a mayhem of joy, but there’s something slightly absent for it to blow up the bell of perfection. That’s not a criticism by any means at all being that this is absolutely one of my favourite movies of the year, and I’m looking forward to spending many a happy hour frolicking around the 70s porn scene with these Nice Guys in the future. JUST DON’T WATCH THE TRAILER!!!


‘The Nice Guys’ is out now.