Shane Black’s The Nice Guys is an amiable mix of comedy and mystery. There is enough of a hook to reel viewers in, even if the film isn’t always as funny as it thinks it is.
Private Investigator Holland March is hired to investigate the apparent suicide of a porn star. He crosses paths with enforcer Jackson Healy, who is out to protect his client. Healy and March reluctantly team up to find a missing girl…
Set in late 1970s Los Angeles, The Nice Guys is a buddy detective movie. Shane Black and Anthony Bagarozzi’s screenplay has a distinct neo noir style. The film combines this crime narrative with a broad humour. The narrative works well to engage viewers; there is sufficient mystery surrounding the case the pair are investigating. The detective story offers a number of twists and turns. Although this is not wholly original, there is some pleasant harking back to noir hallmarks.
The set up of the story works suitably well in The Nice Guys. Director Shane Black’s film has similarities to Inherent Vice in terms of setting and theme, but it lacks the genuine outlandishness of Paul Thomas Anderson’s film. Where The Nice Guys excels is in the addition of Holland’s daughter Holly. Having a young girl tag along gives a different dimension to the buddy cop dynamic. Jokes in the film do not always hit the mark, but when they do, they are very funny.
The film’s period setting is wonderfully exhibited by the costuming and sets. The soundtrack also works very well. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling work well as the unlikely duo. Angourie Rice shines as Holly, whilst Kim Basinger appears a little stiff in a minor role.
The Nice Guys is a decent popcorn flick, with enough action, laughs and mystery to sustain its audience.