Written and directed by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon and Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang), The Nice Guys is a throwback to the type of movie where it was just two guys trying to solve a killing with some one-liners and boobs thrown in for good measure. Set during 1977, the movie concerns ourselves with enforcer Healey (Russell Crowe), who teams up with Private Detective Holland March (Ryan Gosling) as they attempt to find a missing girl that has connections to the Porn industry, the Big 3 Automakers, and the US government.
The movie works best when it does not get bogged down on plot, which can be a bit convoluted, but instead when it focuses on Crowe and Gosling interacting with each other. The two of them are so damn funny and likable that their relationship hearkens back to other good Hollywood 70’s pairings like Newman and Redford. The fact that Black knows how to write witty dialogue and turn action movie tropes on its head also helps the movie. Unlike other action movies, people are seen getting hurt in often brutal ways: for example Crowe breaking Gosling’s arm, and a henchman played by Keith David falling to his death and splattering like a watermelon. Cartoony violence is often missing from these kinds of movies now-a-days, so its nice to see it return. The fact that it also brings back just enough eye candy is also a good sign and a good throwback to 70’s movies like Animal House or Kentucky Fried Movie.
Another cool area of the movie is the cinematography and design. This movie absolutely gets the 1970s and you can even mistake it for having actually taken place during this time. Does this movie have terrible wallpaper and garish clothes? You bet! For those who grew up during this time, there are numerous throwbacks to the music, clothes, and even to the 1970s gas crisis.
Overall, The Nice Guys is just that, a nice movie that can be enjoyed as a lively distraction.
Overall: 3 out of 4 Stars.
Fun Fact: The movie plays the Pina Colada song, even though it is set in 1977, and the song did not come out until 1979.