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Running Time:
1 hr. 56 min.

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for violence, sexuality, nudity, language and brief drug us

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
It will probably remind you of those buddy comedies of a bygone era while adding something extra courtesy of a knowing script and the irresistible chemistry of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.

Additional Info:
Russell Crowe ... Jackson Healy R
Ryan Gosling ... Holland March
Angourie Rice ... Holly March
Matt Bomer ... John Boy
Margaret Qualley ... Amelia Kuttner
Yaya DaCosta ... Tally
Keith David ... Older Guy
Beau Knapp ... Blueface
Lois Smith ... Mrs. Glenn M
Murielle Telio ... Misty Mountains
Gil Gerard ... Bergen Paulsen
Daisy Tahan ... Jessica
Kim Basinger ... Judith Kuttner
Jack Kilmer ... Chet

The Nice Guys
Starting with a hilariously over-the-top prologue in which a car careens through a hillside house to the amazement of a young boy inside, coming to rest to reveal its dying driver—a luscious porn star named Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio). Then it moves on to its stars. Russell Crowe, with fifty or so extra pounds added to his already burly frame, is Jackson Healy, is a fixer who employs his fists—usually outfitted with brass knuckles—to handle problems for clients. At the moment he’s been hired by a young lady named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) to scare off a guy who, she claims, is following her. The fellow turns out to be Holland March (Ryan Gosling), a boozy private eye who specializes in fleecing his (preferably elderly) clients while his precocious daughter Holly (Angourie Rice) looks on disapprovingly. He’s in the employ of Misty’s grandmother (Lois Smith), who claims to have seen the dead woman a couple of days after her demise.

Healy roughs March up, but after he’s in turn accosted by a couple of thugs (Beau Knapp and Keith David), they’re working together—their rapprochement cemented in a hilarious bathroom scene in which Ryan Gosling  exhibits delicious skill at physical comedy—to track down Amelia, a girl with a penchant for socially-conscious causes. The investigation will take them to the burned-out house of her dead boyfriend, with whom she made a mysterious “experimental” film; to a lavish party thrown by the movie’s porno producer, who turns up dead; and to the office of Judith Kutner (Kim Basinger), the head of the state’s Justice Department, who turns out to be Amelia’s mother and also wants her found. As they continue the search, however, they fall afoul of a slickly efficient hit-man called John Boy (Matt Bomer). The plot winds up at a car show where the new models are being exhibited at the same time that a controversy about whether they should be equipped with smog-reducing catalytic converters is being litigated.

It’s unlikely that most viewers will be able to tie all the plot threads together, and the ultimate conspiracy scenario is pretty loopy, considering what we now know of the US history. But it doesn’t really matter. The Nice Guys is no thriller, and the lapses of logic are frankly inconsequential. The movie is essentially a cinematic version of an extended vaudeville routine for Crowe and Gosling, and on that simple basis it works agreeably. Crowe gives the shambling bruiser the air of a lovable lug, and his barely disguised exasperation with Gosling is priceless. Gosling provides an engaging contrast. March is unprincipled but devoted to his daughter, and Gosling plays his doofus side to perfection. At one point he channels Lou Costello for an extended reaction scene and nails it, while Crowe’s Bud Abbott looks on incredulously. The physical attributes might be switched, but the thin-chubby relationship is still there—just in reverse.

But it’s not just the stars who shine here.Angourie Rice  proves an agreeable helper, never allowing Holly’s precociousness to become obnoxious. Matt Bomer turns his matinee-idol good looks to the sinister side with aplomb. Yaya DaCosta invests Kutner’s aide-de-camp with seventies style, and while Kim Basinger never quite hits the mark, but there are plenty of others to compensate: Beau Knapp and Keith David, with a swagger that suggests an overheated take on Wait Until Dark. Also outstanding are Jack Kilmer as a goofball projectionist, and even Lance Valentine Butler, in what amounts to a cameo as an on-the-make kid on a bike. There's a jauntily retro score by David Buckley and John Ottman and the pop song selections (not always chronologically correct, but who cares?) that will grab audiences most.

The Nice Guys is simply a crowd-friendly spoof of old formulas and no less successful in evoking the spirit of movies that might not have always been great, but were usually dumb fun. This one is, too.

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