Walking into Shane Black’s new comedy detective flick, Nice Guys, I was ready for a wise cracking, hip, and easy going experience. An unofficial sequel to his 2005 sneaky hit Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. The quiet beginning of the Robert Downey Jr. comeback was unexpectedly witty and hilarious, hitting all the right notes. Unfortunately, Nice Guys doesn’t hit any of its marks. It is silly, pretentious, and forgettable.
Ryan Gosling is a former cop turned private investigator who happens to be on the same case as tough guy freelance knockaround enforcer Russell Crowe and when they collide, the initial confrontation is funny. Gosling is the hapless victim and Crowe beats him up. Before two scenes can pass, the two are working the case together, looking for a missing girl who may or may not be a porn star. A State attorney(Kim Basinger) may be involved and there are others at stake as well, including Gosling’s character’s daughter.
What you see here is what you have seen in several other films. You saw it in Black’s Lethal Weapon script and the aforementioned Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Two opposites thrown together to work a case, grind each others gears, and eventually find a way to solve the case with a lot of dead bodies being dropped along the way. There’s nothing new here.
The trailer contained all the funny parts and while there are a few more in the 100 minute film, they are not laugh out loud and don’t linger. You don’t leave the theater slinging one of the characters lines towards a friend nor will you care to relay the plot and allure of the film to your loved ones. It’s forgettable.
Is it terrible? No. Crowe and Gosling have chemistry and zing each other at will, and it makes for entertaining moments. They deserve a better script and film to play around in. There are a few fairly decent action sequences, one good fight, and a scene at a party with Gosling and female swimmers that is well done but everything else is ordinary and plain.
This is the kind of movie that you don’t hate losing your time to but you will not like sacrificing 10-12 dollars from your bank account. If I watched this at an advanced screening and didn’t lose my cash, I wouldn’t be mad at all. If it were both time and money, I’d be mad. This one can be enjoyed in your home where you can pause it and do a load of laundry or make your own corn before resuming.
The Nice Guys had a nice setup, cast, and writer/director but in the end it disappoints with its follow through.
The Nice Guys is currently playing in theaters everywhere.