The Nice Guys: a fantastically hilarious period piece
The Nice Guys is a thrilling period piece filled with humor, heart and hilarity, featuring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a drunk PI with a young daughter named Holly (Agourie Rice). March encounters Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) when Healy is hired to threaten and beat up March for a job. In the process, they discover that they now have a mutual interest and must team up to find this girl Amelia.
The element that makes this film great is the relationships and the chemistry between the characters. March and Holland have really great chemistry and balance each other very well. March is a drunk and eccentric, while Holland is serious and reserved. Set in to make the perfect trifecta is Holly, March’s daughter, who somehow manages to tag along on these dangerous trips. She keeps March in check with his drinking and seriousness and keeps Healy in check with his anger and urge to kill. Her performance is on par with that of Gosling’s and Crowe’s. Gosling’s performance in this is particularly amazing for me because it is a very different role than he normally does. This character is quirky, funny, awkward, drunk, silly, and all around entertaining. He makes stupid decisions and doesn’t hide his emotions to anything happening to him. There are a few scenes in which he screams and they are some of the funniest scenes in the entire film. The other characters in the film are decent but nothing particularly notable. Matt Bomer plays a character named John Boy and I’m amazed they actually made Bomer less attractive. What a shame.
The action and fighting scenes in The Nice Guys are intense. There are some great shots of fight scenes at a hotel where people are falling from windows, things are blowing up, and there are gunfights. These scenes are so well executed and entertaining and most importantly do not detract from the story itself. So many films suffer from worrying too much about adding an epic violence scene that it detracts from the rest of the story. The Nice Guys executes the scenes with ease and clarity so that it flows well with the rest of the story.
The story and pacing of the film are near perfect. There is enough intrigue and humor to make the film entertaining and engaging. At certain points in the film you think that you have figured out what will happen next, but there is a surprise or twist that you don’t anticipate. The story is multi-faceted and will keep you engaged for the whole runtime.
Costume design in a period piece is extremely important and this film lived up to it. There are so many wonderfully designed costumes for both men and women. The costumes help set the tone of the film, from the white leather jacket worn by March to the colorful, albeit culturally insensitive Native American costume worn by a woman at a party. The makeup and hairstyles are done well and are consistent with the time period.
All in all, The Nice Guys is an enticing period piece about Los Angeles in 1977. The colorful characters, clothing and whimsy weave a wonderful narrative. The Nice Guys is the must-see comedy action film of the summer.