The actors you’d least likely expect in a buddy comedy combine their charisma to create a genre flick set in the ’70s.
Russel Crowe is not a comedian and Ryan Gosling runs to indie films to get away from rom coms, but they both have the needed chemistry to carry the movie. Crowe is the goon for hire but straight guy, while Gosling is the charming but unreliable PI even though he tries too hard sometimes for the goofball effect.
The rest of the supporting cast is also fittingly cast. Ingenue Angourie Rice is great as the designated sassy voice of reason. Kim Basinger and Matt Bomer are also great.
They’re all tangled in a plot where cynicism, comedic violence, and slapstick anarchy abound. The movie excels in turning violence into funny moments.
In one scene, our “private investigators” are about to step out of the elevator until they see a guy with his throat slit. After hearing a couple of grunts and shots around the corner, they see another falling from above through the glass window behind them.
Both have classic threads, March with psychedelic shirts and Healy with a blue leather jacket, in keeping with the fashion of the ’70s. While the movie doesn’t fully commit to the sleaze of its era, it does have detailed production design and costumes. Cinematography provides soft lighting that gives the movie a certain night glow.
The leads – Crowe embracing his rotund frame and Gosling evolving into a physical comedian – can only do so much for a movie that is unable to sustain an attention-grabbing opening sequence.
The duo is thrown into a case with a series of events string together by a contrived and confusing multi-player narrative. By the time Kim Basinger pops up, you already know how it’s going to end. The movie features derivative buddy cop shenanigans that if weren’t for the popular actors, The Nice Guys won’t register in anybody’s radar.
At best, The Nice Guys is an entertaining throwback because of a charming cast.
The Nice Guys
The Nice Guys is a funny buddy cop movie weighed down by a convoluted script.