Written By Jacob Chimilar (@sweetlows)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang didn't wow me like it did for some, Iron Man 3 was just ok but damn did The Nice Guys look like it was going to be a super fun time. Tonally it nails the 70's LA scene, at least the kind that I'd imagine it was like. The mysterious set up of a young porn star named Misty Mountains crashing her car through a house and into a forest with some cryptic last words made for an intriguing pulp 70's mission. We are later introduced to an enforcer for hire Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe) and P.I. Holland March (Ryan Gosling) on their own seemingly separate cases, Their paths end up crossing and the two of them set out to solve, as March puts it, "the crime of the century".
I really REALLY wanted to love this. It suffers from "Deadpool syndrome" by being marketed too well for its own good. The trailers made it out to be a witty grungy 70's version of "Keanu" with equally talented leading men. Instead we get a pretty knotted and at times convoluted case that gets bogged down on details and exposition that can bring a action comedy to a screeching halt. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are a great duo that deserved a better case than the one they got in this movie. Crowe plays the straight man with his fair share of one liners while Gosling gets to play the chain smoking, boosy detective who would be great at his job if he wasn't drunk all the time. The bad guy that were after Healy was cheesy and over the top and didn't fit in. Maybe upon a second viewing it will reveal itself to be a funnier and more breezy, but as it stands it was trying to do too much with an interconnected story to make for an enjoyable experience. There were some good payoffs and Ryan Gosling as well as his daughter played by Angourie Rice were excellent. It is always fun to see the kid who is smarter and gets more done than the guys who actual job it is to solve the case.
The music is great, fits the tone very well and it refrained from going "needle drop" crazy. Although I think that may have helped it rather than hurt it. The cinematography is nice as well without looking like an Instagram version of the 70's. I could have used a bit more style and inventive editing to keep the story flowing with energy, I'm a fan of the switching comic book panel style wipes for instance, and I think it could have done well with that added bit of flair. That is the one thing I felt this movie was missing, the high energy of a more comedy centric movie that the trailers made it look like.
There are some good gags, don't watch the trailers if you can help it, there are some gems that get spoiled a bit, Crowe, Gosling and Rice are great together and watching them on the case was fun, but that can't help a bland and uninteresting case. Maybe if we are lucky we can see a sequel, or another Crowe and Gosling buddy comedy movie, and just see these guys in more comedies, they are great! Gosling is especially suited to it and should really be more central in comedies, maybe this will make some people stand up and notice his comedic timing. There are worse ways to spend your time in theatres, it has good laughs for sure, they don't go for cheap easy laughs for the most part and there is a good laugh out loud comedy in there somewhere, but if the plot doesn't catch your interest then there simply aren't enough laughs, no matter how silly they might be, to sustain the dry patches.