The Nice Guys
In the words of a close friend, “Hammerle, this was the worst f–king movie I’ve ever seen.”
While my good friend and occasional movie companion referred to above may be the best hand surgeon in the United States, by his own admission he is far too caustic to review films. On the other hand, even if his criticism was a bit harsh, it really didn’t matter.
Unfortunately, The Nice Guys is one of those films where the audience discovers that it has been misled by the previews. More to the point, if you’ve had a chance to see one of those trailers, you need to know that they encompass the only really funny scenes in the entire film.
To the extent that it matters, I don’t want this critique to be aimed at either Russell Crowe or Ryan Gosling, as both are great actors. Here, however, they are trapped in a convoluted plot that never becomes clear until the film’s ending, and by then you’ve reached the point where you really don’t care.
Gosling plays Holland March, a drunken private investigator who does little more than embarrass his 12-year old daughter, Holly. After a local enforcer played by an overweight Russell Crowe pummels him in his own home, the two end up becoming partners in a quest to determine why so many people are being killed.
Kim Basinger makes a brief appearance as a Judith Kuttner, a government agent seeking our boys’ assistance. The only thing that really saves her performance is her facelift.
There are a lot of people who die viciously throughout the film, including a stripper known as Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio). Among the villians wrecking havoc are John Boy (Matt Bomer) and Blue Face (Beau Knapp), and their incompetence is the only thing that allows our duo to survive.
The title of the film is also misleading. Director/Co-writer Shane Black has given us a collection of profound idiots whose maudlin personalities are limited to an occasional sense of humor.
To give you an idea of just how boring this movie becomes, consider that our boys join several villains in continually falling off ledges of high rise buildings. Gosling’s participation in these pratfalls leaves you shaking your head in disbelief.
Let me sum up this cinematic mess by noting that the only really solid performance comes from Angourie Rice, here playing Gosling’s young daughter. She is the only smart, sensitive person in the entire film, and she functions as her father’s guardian angel by constantly appearing to save him from destruction.
I entered the theater with some modest expectations. As the film unraveled, I kept hoping that Crowe and Gosling would use their talents to bring some sense to the whole experience. Unfortunately, their only hope is that “entertainment” is now defined as engulfing a viewing audience in repetitive, tedious boredom.