Murder, violence, muscle cars, porn stars, Earth, Wind, & Fire—everything you’d expect from a ‘70s action comedy, and The Nice Guys satisfies every single one of those requirements.
In this action comedy, Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe play two private investigators searching for a missing girl, which gets them involved in a high stakes conspiracy. Ryan Gosling plays the alcoholic private detective, Holland March, who just wants to make money and support his daughter. Russell Crowe plays the rough and tough private investigator, Jackson Healy, who is mostly known for finding people and beating them up. Together, they form an unlikely duo that manages to push aside their differences to solve the mystery.
This film has a fairly simple plot predictable mystery was pretty predictable. The crazy hi-jinks the investigators got into while trying to solve the mystery was fun to watch. You’d be impressed by how many times you see Gosling’s character fall down dangerous heights and survive. In fact, Gosling brought a lot of the humor into this film. There was a nice balance between slapstick comedy and subtle humor, and Gosling was able to bring both those elements into the film.
This film also had a surprising amount of emotional depth to it, and that mostly came from the relationship between Holland March and his daughter Holly. Despite being only a 13-year-old girl, the youngest main character in the movie, Holly was one of the most important characters in the film. She solved most of the problems before everyone else and brought out the better sides of the main detectives. Without Holly, the film would have lacked emotional weight and fallen flat.
The treatment of the other female characters in the film, however, disappointed me. I should have expected disappointment when the first scene featured a dead, naked woman, but I still had hope for better female character development. There was a lot of intrigue surrounding the missing girl, so she had the potential of being a fascinating character, but she had very little screen time. There were other interesting female characters, but they had little screen time as well. Maybe if they had been given more attention, and their motivations were further explored, this film could have been more complex.
At least there were a lot of exciting fight scenes, mostly consisting of Healy beating up the bad guys while March stumbled around in the background. The best fight scene was definitely the one at the climax of the film because of its perfect balance between action and comedy.
The only disappointing thing about these fight scenes were the bad guys. Most of the main antagonists were either annoying or forgettable. One of the more forgettable antagonists was an assassin named John Boy, played by Matt Bomer. He caused a lot of destruction and was a major threat to the main characters, but the only memorable things about him were his creepy dead-eyed stare and the abnormally large mole on his face.
The Nice Guys was probably more of an action thriller than a comedy because the big, bold action scenes overwhelmed most of the subtle, clever jokes, but it was still very entertaining.