Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Nice Guys

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A mismatched pair of private eyes investigate the apparent suicide of a porn star in 1970s Los Angeles.

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Cast

Ryan Gosling – private detective Holland March

Russell Crowe – Enforcer Jackson Healy

Angourie Rice – Holly March

Matt Bomer – John Boy

Kim Basinger – Judith Kutner

Margaret Qualley – Amelia Kutner

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Twisted

Nice Guys could have gone one way or the other:
Brilliantly funny and well produced. Or not funny at all and poorly executed.

I hereby confirm the latter.

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This movie made such little impact on me that I started focusing on the other elements, such as backing cast / extras. And one of the first things I noticed was an actress I haven’t seen in years; Lois Smith. A.K.A. Aunt Meg in Twister (1996). She pops up somewhere near the beginning as a mad old bat who is vaguely involved in the case being investigated by the two lead characters.
Twister – 1996
Nice Guys – 2016.
If twenty years is the break Smith has between movies, the woman needs to get her arse to more auditions. But break or not, the actress delivers where needed; mainly by standing around looking baffled through thick-lens glasses. She’s a nice bit of comedy, albeit underused.

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Then of course, we have Kim Basinger. I’ve not seen or heard from her in years, so it was a refreshing surprise to have Judith Kutner roll into view. A girl near me in the audience commented out loud on her appearance too; probably also surprised. That, or the girl was commenting on Basinger’s skin. The woman did look slightly ropey.

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In fact, I thought she looked a bit like Michael Myers.

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Nice Guys is rammed solid with violence and foul-mouthed dialogue. As Jackson and Holland embark on a mission to find a missing girl and settle a few scores, viewers are treated (or perhaps not treated) to arms being snapped, people being gunned down, kidnap, rotting corpses, even a twelve-year-old girl sat watching porn with an adult model. Most of the crap this movie offloads seems slightly pointless, thrown into the mix because the director thought it would heighten the comedy value. In all honesty, it only makes Nice Guys a bizarrely twisted (thought I’d add that – Twister, you know) piece of cinema.

The movie bounces between comedy and filth for its entire duration; but the comedy is very diluted. It’s not quite funny enough and doesn’t contain the level of hilarity I’ve seen in many other features that are lead by a comedy duo. And I think this is because the substance gets lost in the dwindling plot..

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What’s The Story?

Nice Guys is guilty of two things:

No – or extremely little – story
Lack of substance & fluidity.

As far as I could tell, the two lead characters were on the hunt for ‘Amelia’ – a young woman who holds vital information.
And that was it.
That was all.
This Amelia woman’s name came up randomly in conversation near the beginning of the movie, but I as a viewer had absolutely no bloody idea who she actually was or what was so special about her. She wasn’t introduced in human form until a good thirty-five minutes into the movie, so until this point she was just a name. “Amelia who?”, I thought constantly until she appeared.

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As for the actual plot, it was extremely thin. Crowe and Gosling are seen whizzing around the city and gatecrashing a swank house party; which had its entertaining moments (people they come into contact with, etc.), but otherwise the movie was running on empty – BIG TIME. Sadly, Nice Guys lost its way very early on and this sent the story spiralling into nowhere, the lack of substance was incredible. By the end of the movie I had to refresh myself exactly what the point of it was. Clearly someone out there in Hollywood thought, “Crowe and Gosling – doesn’t matter about the story, we gotta have Crowe and Gosling as a double act”.
Even when faced with a main character – one of their enemies – Holland, Jackson and Judith only exchange a few words before pissing off again and carrying on with swaggering around bars and streets; there really is no plot at all. This loses big points from me.

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Gosling is definitely the more dynamic of the two in this unlikely pairing. Whereas Crowe seems to stomp around with a pretty much constant look of anger on his face, Gosling is the man who provides all the laughs. He’s slick and slightly foolish which makes him an ideal lead. He’s a very entertaining watch.
Crowe just can’t pull off being funny. I may be stating the obvious here, but it’s true; his moody face and unenergetic style of performance is just awful – perfect for more dull, stern roles. For example, his movie Noah (2014) was ideal. He fits more into those sorts of roles, not comedy. And Nice Guys only proved this as Gosling took the reins – with some excellent slapstick – and pelted ahead at full comedic force, with Crowe as just a miserable sidekick.

I got a text message from a work colleague on Whatsapp a while ago.
This is what it said:

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Paul has never been more spot-on.
I can’t say anymore, think that message sums it up.
On the plus side, Nice Guys contains a healthy amount of slapstick violence and comedy moments with Ryan Gosling taking charge on delivery of some fine funny moments.
On the down side, it contains very little substance due to lack of engaging story. This movie is just Crowe and Gosling given a stage to run around and play on.
Certainly not one I will be watching again.

 

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This entry was posted on June 18, 2016 by .
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