From the writer-director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys is another ravishing, rambunctious & rollicking ride that’s full of laugh-out-loud moments, captures the magical vibe of the 1970s with finesse, balances the elements of comedy & thriller in a seamless fashion, and is further bolstered by charismatic performances from Russell Crowe & Ryan Gosling.
Taking place in Los Angeles around 1977, The Nice Guys tells the story of a private detective who’s hired to investigate the apparent suicide of a famous porn star. The trail leads him to a young girl who hires an enforcer to keep him off her. But when she goes missing, the two detectives team up to find her, only to later discover that the whole plot is far more complicated than they imagined.
Written & directed by Shane Black, the film brims with plenty of style, is downright witty & makes excellent use of its resources for the most part. The first half is a laughter riot and presents Black at his best but the second half fizzles out of energy after a while plus the big reveal unfortunately isn’t as rewarding as expected. Nevertheless, the narrative stays funny & thoroughly entertaining.
The 1970s atmosphere is brought to life with vibrancy, thanks to its outstanding production design, fitting costumes & numerous pop-culture references. Cinematography also adds more richness to the story with its energetic camerawork & exquisite use of bright colour palette. The first half is brilliantly paced but it all goes downhill in the next half. And the music further evokes the 1970s feel with its selected tracks.
Coming to the acting department, The Nice Guys features a colourful cast in Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley & Kim Basinger, with both Crowe & Gosling stealing the show although Rice gets to have her own moments as well and does a commendable job in her given role. Crowe & Gosling do chip in with strong inputs separately but their chemistry is even better and makes the whole experience all the more enriching.
On an overall scale, The Nice Guys had all the ingredients to finish as one of the finest examples of its genre(s) but it just misses out on boarding that train, thanks to its less-refined second half that simply fails to live up to the expectations set by its previous act. It still bears all the hallmarks of a Shane Black feature, and is an incessantly fun, endlessly groovy & powerfully alluring cinema that promises an equally thrilling & amusing ride to all its viewers and delivers it in sufficient doses. Definitely worth your time & money.