The Nice Guys (2016): They’re Not That Nice

Posted: May 26, 2016 in Action, Comedy, Crime

Jackson Healy is the type of guy you call when you’re in a little trouble and need someone to use a little force to get the job done. Holland March is not someone anyone should call, but he works as a somewhat crooked PI just trying to make it. The two get caught up in the same case when Jackson realizes that he is protecting the same girl, Amelia, that Holland is seeking. They both lose track of her but discover that there is a bigger problem. The girl is the daughter of DOJ representative Judith Kutner. Now working together, they start to put the pieces together of why Amelia is constantly on the run and what Judith is actually in uncovering by getting her daughter back.

Sophisticated Slapstick: Russel Crowe has had an up and down career in terms of the range of his acting, but an area where he can definitely play to the role is quirky action comedy. As a hired muscle, his stature and fighting abilities served him well in the actions sequences of the film, but the delivery somehow also maintains a lightness to raise the entertainment level. Gosling boosted the comedic element to a greater extent as an often lucky but still clumsy detective who allowed self interest and alcohol to commonly cloud his judgment. Rarely can someone have multiple pratfalls in a film and flow between the hilarity of the situation and transitions into more serious plot points.

Corruption in 70s Hollywood: With Judith Kutner serving as a champion against moral depravity, her interest in retrieving her daughter and fighting against the growing industry of sexual media seemed to be a great cause for a government official. As Jackson and Holland fell deeper down the rabbit hole, they discovered that everyone in their situation had ulterior motives beyond their involvement in pornography. Even when they finally find Amelia, they discover how little they know about what they got caught up in and what they would have to do to get out of it. Eventually, someone was going to tip their hand, which was when Jackson and Holland had a chance to strike.

Relationships are Central to Success: While not a main theme of the film, one of the important side products of the story was the importance of having people you care about. For the Kutners, Judith seemed less concerned about her own daughter than the situation with which she was involved. More importantly, Holland’s daughter Holly was a clear fixture in their investigation. While he made constant attempts to keep her out of the fray, she forced her way back in to help wherever she could. She saw that her father was still suffering from the loss of his home and his wife, and she did not want him to loss his way.

Final Verdict: In some slight ways, the comedy of this film felt like Lethal Weapon and it truly worked. Crowe and Gosling made an interesting and entertaining pair, with a solid story of corruption and deceit framing their character development.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5


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