It is said that screenwriting is the world’s most difficult art form in the world. One of the reasons for this is that so many movies have been made and stories told that being original and having an original idea is close to impossible. To be really original, one of the first things you have to do with a script is to create very original dialogue, but the problem with this is walking a fine line between what is called “on the nose dialogue” and witty subtext that is both different and not downright strange at the same time. Shane Black , who came to fame in 1987 at age 26 with the movie “Lethal Weapon”, both wrote and directed this movie and once again he attempts to be unusual and different which can at times seem to be too much of a good thing.
The movie “The Nice Guys” tries to walk a tightrope between being a private eye caper in the city of Los Angeles that is somewhat like the movie LA Confidential – 1997 also starring Kim Basinger and at times a very weird movie. One example of this weirdness is a scene where Ryan Gosling’s character is driving a car and then suddenly realizes that in the back seat there is a giant Bee and the car drives itself. This insanity is then explained as a dream sequence where Gosling’s character fell asleep while driving the car. Another scene has Gosling seeing a dead body and repeating the same exact fear reactions from Lou Costello in just about every Abbot and Costello movie and this came off as more embarrassing than funny. There is a speech by Russel Crowe where he talks about the last person you may see before you die is of all people, Richard Nixon. Crazy lines like this are all over this movie and at times this kind of thing works and at other times, it all falls flat.
At the start, the story involving of all things a mother-daughter feud, a porn movie, and a major Automobile manufacturer is all over the place and then comes together at the end after a good deal of unnecessary confusion. Some of the dialogue is funny and some of it just doesn’t work at all. There is a good deal of violence and death in this movie, some of it over the top and unnecessary but nothing more than we have all seen in movies for many years. Gosling’s character smokes in this movie non-stop which I for one always find to be very annoying and should not be allowed in any movie.
Russel Crowe, who plays the lead private investigator in this movie for some reason thought it necessary to gain a great deal of weight for this role. You had to wonder if this huge weight gain was really necessary for a role like this in the first place, especially considering the danger you can put on your overall health to gain an lose extreme amounts of weight. For me, it would have made no difference whether Crowe was normal weight or 40 pounds overweight to play this part.
The role of Gossling’s daughter is played extremely well by Angourie Rice and she almost steals the whole movie with her acting ability and young movie star looks. This young woman probably has launched a great acting career with this movie.
At the end, it was very obvious that this film may be the first in a continuing series of “Nice Guy” movies with Crowe and Gossling. If this movie makes a great deal of money there is no doubt that there will be one or perhaps many more sequels.
I thought this movie was good enough to recommend, despite the confused story and at times insane situations and dialogue.