Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Nice Guys

Structured like Chinatown, but overflowing with the blackest humor, The Nice Guys bookends nicely with Shane Black’s other noire film KissKissBangBang, but is not as good. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe become entwined in a sex, drugs, and violence murder mystery set in smoggy ‘70’s Los Angeles. Violence and exploitation of women is a central theme of the film and while in step with the exploitation films of the era, is presented in such a grimy, sleazy way, it turns The Nice Guys into an instant relic of a bygone time.

Crowe effortlessly falls into the role of a world-weary paunchy enforcer who wishes he was a better man, even while choking men to death. Gosling sheds his laconic/stoic standby and is a lit fuse as a cynical huckster P.I. and he crackles as he stumbles comically through every scene. Violent and raunchy, The Nice Guys culminates in a rushed climax to a unearned conspiracy that while historically true, is played for laughs almost directly to camera. The Nice Guys is an entertaining misstep that demands an appreciation for the seedy side of show business.

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