The Nice Guys Don’t Play Nice, They Get Nasty!

26 May

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)The_Nice_Guys_poster

I knew I would be looking for Gil Gerard‘s potential return to the entertainment industry after talking to him about his career last year. He briefly talked about his appearance in Shane Black’s The Nice Guys, which wrapped filming but could not say much. This writer/director is also known for movies like Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Lethal Weapon. Due to his contractual obligations, he could not reveal too much about his role, but for an actor I grew to admire since playing two phenomenal leads, in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Side Kicks, I was keeping my eye out for him.

This neo-noir crime drama buddy film set in the late 70’s (there was a Jaws 2 billboard in the backdrop) has all the makings to set up a pair of unlikely detectives going out to solve a crime a la Starsky and Hutch. Although the year 1977 was prominently introduced, the shark movie was released a year later. Goofs aside, the fun energy from Lethal Weapon still carries in this film, and it sets up a nearly similar pairing. When Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is put on the case to find Amelia Kutner (Margaret Qualley) and she’s hired Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) to tell Holland to stay away, the case may seem easy to handle, but it’s not. Suddenly, they are thrust into the snuff film industry where she’s hiding out, and Misty Mountains becomes involved in the shenanigans because Kutner gets involved in a project where she reveals herself to be an activist. She wants to tear down the hold Detroit has in the automobile production and gas industry. Amusingly, March jokes about how electric cars will become the future. The subtext about the pollution problem (smog) in Los Angeles is glossed upon. Maybe a bit of hammering could have helped add to make this story all the more poignant.

For this product’s entertainment value, I was laughing at the fun camaraderie the stars of the film, Gosling and Crowe, obviously have. Healy is basically the muscle to March’s brains. This pairing is sweet, and I had to chuckle at a moment where Gosling was channelling Lou Costello when he finds a dead body. The reaction was just bang on and I watch this classic duo’s meeting with the Universal Monsters regularly enough to know.

The scene stealer in this film is with Holly March (Angourie Rice), March’s daughter. There’s naturalness to her performance which I loved. She’s like Penny from Inspector Gadget, playing a very important secondary role to keep these two ‘dads’ in place. While she does not immediately take a liking to Healy (he did hurt her papa) at first, their relationship develops and she provides a grounding for this grizzled muscle-man. The main plot of finding Amelia feels secondary to the relationships being developed in this film, and hopefully, Black can write a sequel to bring back this pair to the big screen. Their story is beginning, and they make for an excellent pair to putting a stop to federal crimes happening on the streets of Los Angeles.

As for where Gerard figures into this story, there’s a chance he could be back. He plays one of the rich industrialists who are part of that Detroit automobile industry and he appears in the television commercial near the start of the film and he is whom Amelia is seeking to discredit. Although he’s hardly recognizable these days (I remember him better during his prime), he still has a presence that can be felt. Hopefully, this fine actor will get further roles to grow his new image; he’s evidently not retiring from the scene. He also provides the voice of Megatronus in Transformers: Robots in Disguise. I’m enjoying this series since it is a continuation of the story that finished in Prime. And I, for one, do not believe this new villain is gone.

4 Stars out of 5

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One Response to “The Nice Guys Don’t Play Nice, They Get Nasty!”

  1. Dan O. May 27, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    It’s a lot of fun, no matter what sort of issues can be found. Nice review.

    Like

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