“The Nice Guys” is a film that seemingly creates its own rules around its strange environment. The more the film moves forward, the more the audience is able to slip into this surreal period semi-satire. It is so relaxed and oddly paced that it almost transcends the buddy-detective clichés of days old, while somehow easing us into the perfect callback to these tropes. This near impossible feat is achieved by the deftness of the film’s direction and the surprisingly well-matched combo of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.
There was no time like the seventies, and this decade plays perfectly with the relaxed demeanor and humor of the film. “The Nice Guys” is oozing with period outfits, dialect and clichés that all work to the film’s advantage.
This is especially clear within the humor of the film. Much of the comedy is reliant on the sharp dialogue that Crowe and Gosling exchange throughout the film. This is reliably balanced by the physical humor that is performed by the two leads and the supporting cast. The timing of both types of comedy is masterfully produced on screen, and the majority of jokes land with roaring hilarity. Crowe and Gosling’s chemistry goes a long way to provide this onslaught of ’70s brevity for the audience to enjoy. Crowe’s gruff demeanor mixed with Gosling’s frantic, bumbling persona is a joy to watch on the big screen. Their banter creates a knowing sense of realism to the relationship that ends up feeling more tangible than most on-screen pairs.
The other prominent cast member in the film, who makes for a fantastic addition, is Angourie Rice. This rising star plays Gosling’s daughter in the movie, and her character adds a refreshing dynamic to the buddy-detective formula. All of her dialogue with Gosling and Crowe seems natural and creatively written. Her character is displayed as fiercely independent, and the movie integrates her into the plot in a fascinating way.
The action is “The Nice Guys” is nothing incredible, but it keeps the audience on its toes in reliably creative ways. The shootouts are full of meaningful character and hilarious dialogue. Each action sequence has the wacky personalities of the leads shining through it. This large amount of personality is necessary for the coherence of the plot, which can, at certain points, come off as nonsensical. The plot contains many twists and turns that sometimes seem irrelevant or they don’t add up to much. Thankfully, “The Nice Guys,” like many unique films, is about the journey and not the destination. It is a blast to ride alongside these talented actors as the antics on screen become more and more absurd.
In the end, “The Nice Guys” is an insanely satisfying tale that leaves the audience wanting more. The ’70s décor, the tangible chemistry, the unique characters and the oddball humor all weave together to produce a film that is adamantly laidback yet excitingly fun. The performances of each lead are so lovable that when the movie ends, the audience feels as if they are leaving beloved friends. “The Nice Guys” is a hilariously engaging film that uses each crafted element to its advantage. It’s a movie that can only be summed up with one word: Nice.
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