DVD Review: The Nice Guys

NiceGuysDVD1STUDIO: Warner | DIRECTOR: Shane Black | CAST: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Matt Bomer, Angourie Rice, Margaret Qualley, Keith David, Lois Smith
RELEASE DATE: 8/23/16 | PRICE: DVD $15.95, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $19.99
BONUSES: two featurettes
SPECS: R | 116 min. | Action crime comedy | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolboy Digital 5.1/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio | Video  | Overall


The unlikely teaming of Ryan Gosling (The Big Short) and Russell Crowe (Noah) delivers irreverent, politically incorrect fun in The Nice Guys, an offbeat detective farce from director/co-writer Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3).

the-nice-guys-1Heavy drinking PI Gosling and hitman-for-hire Crowe are a mismatched pair loose in late 1970s Los Angeles, where they try to uncover the secret behind the suicide of a porno queen. Along with help from Gosling’s 13-year-old daughter (scene-stealing Angourie Rice, Walking with Dinosaurs) the sleuths encounter an actress everyone seems to be after (Margaret Qualley, Palo Alto) and an unpredictable killer out to assassinate them (Matt Bomer, Magic Mike).

The period detail, seat-of-the-pants plotting and goofy chemistry between the principals—Gosling, Crowe and the terrific Rice—make for a most unusual and welcome entertainment. It seems totally out of touch–in a good way—when one considers all the cookie cutter caper flicks of recent years.  If Robert Altman had directed a buddy cop movie —say Freebie and the Bean or Running Scared (1986)—it would probably look like this loosey goosey enterprise that’s loaded with non sequiturs, weirdo characters and a raggedy charm. In a way, filmmaker Black, whose career was jump-started when he sold his script for Lethal Weapon back in the 1970s, comes full circle with this effort.

Alas, The Nice Guys took in under $40 million at the box-office despite the high profiles (albeit iffy commercial recent track records) of Crowe and Gosling.  These enjoyably edgy characters could have worked at the center of a long-running series—a series that will likely never happen.


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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.