I saw this film at an Unlimited screening at Cineworld, hence why it’s a little early. Spoilers may follow.
Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a private detective, but since this is a comedy, he’s not a very good or clever one. Nonetheless, he is looking for the missing young woman Amelia (Margaret Qualley), who has some connection with recently-deceased adult film star Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio). He isn’t on this case alone, however; aiding him is hired enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and even his thirteen-year-old daughter Holly (Angourie Rice).
In this case, the trailer doesn’t lie. Right from the very beginning, where a kid pinches his father’s nudie magazines featuring Misty Mountains right before Mountains’ car crashes through the wall, The Nice Guys is pretty much a big live-action cartoon with a 70’s backdrop. Further enforcing this is Gosling acting like a cartoon character, reacting to a corpse the same way Shaggy would react to a ghost, and breaking a window with his fist, only for said fist to bleed.
That is, however, not a bad thing. The jokes come fast in this movie, yet they never get obnoxious or annoying, and neither do the characters delivering them. The dialogue is hilarious and well-written, and Crowe and Gosling complement each other well. Holland may make a fool of himself, but you still like him, and you still want him to succeed. Same goes for Healy, even through the way he gets things done, and even Rice is a delight as Holly.
You’d likely care more about these characters than their case, however, for the story on its own isn’t too much to write home about, and you likely won’t be thinking about it much after leaving the theatre. What makes it worth watching are the endlessly entertaining characters, its action and humour, and how it perfectly captures the spirit of the 70’s as it were, warts and all. Unlike Hardcore Henry, what it has to offer never overstays its welcome.
The Nice Guys is no masterpiece, but it is extremely entertaining and there are worse ways to kill an evening.