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The Nice Guys-Action Comedy Done Right

I’ll be honest. A part of me wants to find some fault with people like Ryan Gosling. He’s too damn good looking, and all the women drool over him. He’s even a pretty good actor. But here’s something you may not know about Gosling. Dude is also a solid comedic actor.

He and Russell Crowe play opposite each other in the recent period-piece, buddy crime solving, detective, thriller, comedy, The Nice Guys. I saw it last weekend, and I haven’t laughed that much in a while. Crowe is a solid straight man to Gosling’s comedy, and together, they totally “work.” Gosling has excellent timing, the right facial expression for any given situation, and has perfected screaming like a little girl whenever his character is in pain or afraid. I won’t try to convince you further about how funny this movie is. Just go see it.

Oh, and fans of Abbott and Costello will be pleased to see Gosling turn in a near perfect mimic of a Lou Costello reaction to a certain situation in one of the scenes. It shouldn’t be hard to spot if you’re looking for it.

nice guysAside from the laughs, the movie itself is also well crafted. The director, Shane Black, knows what he’s doing, and it shows from the very first scene all the way through to the end. And it makes sense, since Black made his directorial debut with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (if you haven’t yet seen this odd but awesome movie with Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. then please do so). Oh, and Black also sold his first script when he was 22 years old for this little known movie called Lethal Weapon. Since that first sale…oh, just look up his bio on IMDB and read about this guy. He’s pretty damn impressive. He’s also slated to direct the upcoming Doc Savage movie!

Okay. I’m fine. I’m fine. Sorry about that. On with the review…

If a weakness could be noted about the movie, it would be the plot, which is a bit formulaic, and nothing you’re going to remember for very long. But even with an average story, the film transcends what would be a simply blah movie if in the hands of a different director and realized by a different set of actors. At times the movie was even surreal?

Even though Gosling gives the shining performance here, Crowe does a admirable job of being the tough guy who secretly has a soft spot for kids and family. I think that Crowe can act, and I was impressed with his quiet certitude in this film. He gives just enough to make his character believable and right for the movie as the plot moves along. In fact, he’s the only one who experiences some emotional growth in the story, even though you shouldn’t expect to be “moved” by that part of his character’s arc.

Finally, even though this is a buddy movie, it really has three stars. Along with Gosling and Crowe, the young actress, Angourie Rice, turns in a solid and believable performance as Gosling’s young, but more-mature-than-Dad, daughter. In fact, Gosling plays off of her and Crowe throughout the entire film, and the three of them make for a nice ensemble. Look for more from Rice in the future.

I’m sure it’s obvious that I recommend this movie, but I will say that you don’t need to see it in the theaters. There’s no CGI or amazing shots that need to be viewed on the large screen. That being said, watch it when you get the chance and feel like having a good, entertaining, action-packed laugh.

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