‘The Nice Guys’ is a nice surprise


‘The Nice Guys’ theatrical movie poster. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

“The Nice Guys,” starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, is not your average film. You go in expecting a generic buddy-cop action movie with vulgar humor and some cheap laughs, but what you get is a thought-provoking, introspective look at high-level government corruption accompanied by genuinely funny comedy and top-level acting. But don’t worry, there is also plenty of action and crude humor to go around.

This may make the movie sound like a confused, unfocused mess, but it manages to strike a perfect balance between the two, seamlessly transitioning between absurd action sequences and thoughtful character development and exposition.

The film takes place in Los Angeles in the late 1970s, and focuses on the story of Private Investigator Holland March (Ryan Gosling), and paid enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe), who end up working together after their separate cases cross paths. Together they search for a missing girl named Amelia, and accidentally stumble upon a larger criminal conspiracy that permeates the highest circles of power.

The movie is not for the faint-of-heart. It contains a large amount of graphic violence, explicit language, and sexual content (which earns it an R rating); but it rewards those who aren’t with well-timed jokes, clever screenwriting, and fantastic chemistry between the actors.

There is never a dull moment in the movie, and as such it  is thoroughly entertaining for its entire two-hour run time. Frequently the movie sets certain expectations of an outcome, only to turn those expectations on their head by having the outcome be completely different than initially expected.

The daughter of Holland March, Holly, also plays an important role in the movie. She helps keep her father and Healy grounded throughout the movie, and saves them from precarious situations numerous times over its course. Her character also adds additional comedy to the movie, mainly due to her adult-like behavior.

Ultimately, it is refreshing to see an original movie with a such a convoluted and unique concept executed so flawlessly. The comedy is exceptionally well done, the action keeps you on the edge of your seat, and the movie conveys a serious message without feeling preachy in any way.

While I love movies like The Avengers, there are only so many ways to make a good superhero movie, and they can quickly become repetitive and boring after an endless amount of sequels and remakes. If you’re looking for something funny, original, and creative, it doesn’t get much better than “The Nice Guys.”