By Joshua Williams (Tucson, Arizona, United States)
Shane Black returns to the director’s chair with The Nice Guys. A story very similar to his first directorial debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Shane Black takes on Los Angeles in the 1970’s. With the story revolving around two private detectives Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and Holland March (Ryan Gosling), who are investigate a suicide of popular pornography actress Misty Mountains. The story is full of loops and twists that will have you biting your nails thinking “what’s coming next” but simultaneously bores you right to sleep.
The film is very original and is honestly a breath of fresh air from the copious number of superhero films being released this year. But the story has incredibly high points but then also takes the audience to devastating lows. The scenarios that Black presents, paired with Crowe and Gosling’s impeccable comedic personalities, are both funny and entertaining. But when we are introduced to an exciting action scene or an exciting discovery of evidence scene, it is more than likely followed with a very boring exposition filled dialogue scene. And the dialogue isn’t bad, the scene is just so underwhelming compared to the moments we just saw previously. This is what makes the film drag, and the film isn’t bad by any means, nor is it hard to enjoy. Just the fact that this is the style that was chosen for the story, it weakens what was originally a very strong screenplay.
That being said the screenplay is superb. Along with the screenplay, Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling deliver every fast paced witty comedic comment with ease and this is the highlight of the film. The story is solid, and the action is enjoyable, but the back and forth banter between Crowe and Gosling is the best back and forth since well, Robert Downey and Val Kilmer. That being said, I don’t believe it tops both Downey and Kilmer in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang but it definitely holds some similar elements. Two completely opposite personalities being forced to work together in an incredibly uncomfortable scenario. Yeah, comedy gold is definitely abrewing.
As far as what is better about The Nice Guys than Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is that this film is much more well-crafted. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a very solid first film to have, without a doubt. But The Nice Guys actually holds some very powerful film making elements. The production value is off the charts. The cinematography is very well done and very well motivated by the screaming 1970’s energy. Both the production and costume design exhume what it was like to be a powerful and wealthy porn business man. The Nice Guys is much more well done, and the film making side of Shane Black is shown much more clearly in this film than in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and not to mention, the sound track is absolutely outstanding.
The Nice Guys is a solid action comedy with several duds in the story structure and screenplay. But these duds are not notable enough to ruin the overall enjoyment of the film. The Nice Guys is a drunken hysterical piece of film making that just roars with 1970’s energy.BEST QUOTES