By Jack Dignan
Shane Black, Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling have teamed up to deliver what could possibly be the greatest film of 2016. When I see a trailer as good as the one for The Nice Guys, I think to myself 'there's no possible way this film can be better than the trailer. It's impossible.' I mean, I was still painfully excited to see and it was one of my most anticipated movies of the year, but I've had experience with similar styled trailers and more often than not, they end in disappointment. With The Nice Guys, I was hyped out of my mind, and when I got to watch the film yesterday, all expectations were well and truly exceeded. Good luck, 2016. Good luck topping this masterpiece.
The Nice Guys follows the story of Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and Holland March (Ryan Gosling). Healy, essentially, is hired to beat people up for a living, while March is a b-grade private investigator and single father to his hilariously mature daughter, Holly (Angourice Rice). March is hired to track down a dead porn star after somebody believes to have seen her alive. It's while investigating the porn star that he's forced to team up with Healy to track down and protect a young woman named Amelia (Margaret Qualley), who has connections to the porn star's death.
It's a chaotic and unpredictable ride from start to finish, and it's a hell of a lot of fun. Gosling and Crowe prove to be a match made in heaven, their comedic timing perfect and their chemistry unbelievable, as well as delivering two utterly brilliant performances. The two characters, while still being rather different, have strange parallels to each other, making it a unique and thrilling buddy cop movie that's not really a buddy cop movie. The two bounce off of each other constantly, their banter hilarious to watch unfold. Neither of them really want to work with each other, but they don't have a say in it, and it turns out to be worth their while.
If I'm being perfectly honest, I don't think I've ever laughed this hard in a movie before. Seriously, this film is fucking hilarious. If, like me, you only saw the first two trailers (the third one, as I discovered after watching the movie, spoils a lot more of the gags), then you haven't seen anything yet. All the film's best moments are well and truly protected, and they come from the most unexpected places. Every time you think a joke is going somewhere, Shane Black steers you in a different direction, presenting a much funnier, less predictable gag that had me literally in tears. This movie made me cry simply because of how funny it was.
What makes this film so great isn't just how funny it is, but is instead thanks to the performances, writing and direction. The screenplay by Shane Black and Anthony Bagarozzi is all sorts of brilliant. The personalities of these characters are all unique, and the plot is completely original. There were moments, just like the gags, where I thought I knew where this film was going, but the rug was pulled right out from underneath me and I was left in shock, watching as the real plot unfolded and revealed itself. It's an energetic and consistently entertaining film that failed to deliver a dull moment and never lost steam. As a matter of fact, my favourite scene in this film happens during the finale, so there's that.
There's so many times during this movie where it could've taken the easy route. It could've cheated every so often and fall into clichéd territory to help our two heroes get out of trouble, but it never did. If a problem arose, the two leads would always push through, and that's another thing I loved about this movie. It always followed through the aspects of the plot it was setting up. Everything helped to create a satisfying and hilarious payoff, and the journey there is just as entertaining, if not more.
To sum up, The Nice Guys is a chaotic and energetic romp, making it the most entertaining movie so far in 2016, and easily my favourite. The screenplay is original, the jokes had me in literal tears and the performances are off the charts. There's no need to watch any more movies this year. The Nice Guys wins.