Underrated Classics: ‘The Nice Guys’

“The Nice Guys” is the third film directed by Shane Black, the director behind 2012’s “Iron Man 3” as well as 2005’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”. (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

Owen Johnson
Connector Staff

In a year of generic remakes, massive letdowns, and cinematic embarrassments, “The Nice Guys” is an anomalous diamond in the ruff.

Following the death of an adult film star (Murielle Telio), two private detectives are forced to work together to find a missing girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) who is somehow connected with the deceased actress. Through their investigation, the two detectives find themselves mixed up in a much more grandiose scheme.

From the description of the movie, it sounds like a very generic buddy cop comedy. While that is the case to an extent, the movie manages to find success from the work of director and writer Shane Black (“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” “Iron Man 3”), who is exceptional when it comes to executing witty movies.

Kicking off with the death of the adult movie star, the plot works in the same way as a legitimate investigation would. At first, a lot of the events that transpire all seem coincidental and random until more clues are discovered by the private detectives. While the movie manages to avoid a number of coincidences, a few do unfortunately slip through. Even with the occasional coincident to propel the plot, “The Nice Guys” makes up for it with its intriguing mystery and well-crafted humor.

One of the most important rules to produce a successful comedy movie is that the punchlines need to be delivered before the audience figures them out. “The Nice Guys” pulls this off perfectly, not only seamlessly pulling off their punchlines when the joke is set up in the scene, but subtly setting up jokes earlier in the movie which have some of the best payoffs of the whole film.
The best part of the movie by far is the performances. There is incredibly engaging chemistry and repartee between Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, and both actors help get the witty dialogue to work perfectly. What is very surprising is that Angoruie Rice, who plays Gosling’s adolescent daughter, is able to pull of being a bratty young kid while still being as likable, if not more so, than the two leads.

To put it simply, “The Nice Guys” is a near perfect movie with a few minor blunders in it that barely affect it at all.

Final Grade: A

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