It’s always fun to see an actor step outside of their wheelhouse. The results can be cringe-worthy or — in this case — a grand slam. Gosling has fine-tuned the Rico Suave, silver-tongued devil type; Never a misstep, his sleeves always cuffed just so as to accentuate his effortlessly toned forearms, and that ovary-melting smirk of his.
Crowe, on the other hand, uses his perpetually furrowed brow and gruff demeanor to take roles that require him to basically embody the not-actually-that-far-off version of himself, the Makin’ Movies, Makin’ Songs, and Fightin’ ‘Round the World Russell Crowe from South Park.
In The Nice Guys, Crowe doesn’t make quite the departure from his former roles that Gosling does, but he’s an almost delightful, jovial version of himself.
In 1977 Los Angeles, in lieu of Facebook stalking and the wealth of dirt that is the internet, men like Jackson Healy (Crowe) were hired to find people and in most cases, hurt them. Not quite a hitman, but the way you and I grab our wallet/keys/phone when we leave the house, included in his daily arsenal are brass knuckles.
At the other end of the spectrum we have the gauche gumshoe Holland March (Gosling). He’s a bit behind the eight ball and pretty consistently three sheets to the wind. He catches a break when he’s hired to investigate the possible suicide of a young adult film star. The investigation turns into the search for a girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) who has gone missing. March quickly discovers that he’s not the only one with a vested interest in finding this elusive young lady.
While the obstacles stack higher, March and Healy team up — against their better judgement — yielding amusing and often riotous results. With March’s pint-sized P.I. daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice) in tow — often to the chagrin of her father — they’ll have to find Amelia before anyone else does.
After their appearance at the Oscars this year, it was pretty clear that Crowe and Gosling have some zippy chemistry, but nothing could’ve prepared me for how well they actually worked together. You can’t fake that kind of rapport. Much like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in those delightful Road To… movies, John Candy and Steve Martin in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers, they just get it right.
It’s no surprise that I loved it because it’s a Shane Black film. And Shane Black has a propensity for making movies that I typically enjoy. Why, Shane Black had a hand in bringing together Riggs (Mel The-King-Of-Miami Gibson) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) in the Lethal Weapon movies! Incidentally, get a look at Black’s pitch for Lethal Weapon 5 here.
The Nice Guys is disarmingly funny and even endearing with loads of pretty consistent action. Never has a movie with so many exposed breasts been quite so clever and charming. The very definition of a summer hit. Keep an eye out for a presidential cameo like you’ve never seen before and, seriously you guys — so. many. boobs.