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This Month's Issue

The Nice Guys
Friday, May 20, 2016

Studio: Warner Bros.

Reviewed by: Ed Coke

It’s always refreshing to bear witness to original art in film. Whether completely unique, or inspired by the root cellars of prior cash crops, makes no difference to me. As long as it ain’t a reboot, remake, or threequel, I usually provide the provider with an open mind and let them do their worst. While there’s always the festival circuit where the avant-garde regularly soar, Hollyweird studios rarely take chances, sticking with CG-laden, guaranteed nine figure paydays.

The Nice Guys, a new action-comedy in theatres today, stands out as a major studio release that’s both fresh and enjoyable, making the most of the assembled talented. Based in the late 1970s, the story follows perpetual lady-charmer Ryan Gosling as a chain-smoking and heavy drinking, less-than-perfect P.I., and Russell Crowe as the no-bullshit enforcer turned partner. Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Last Boy Scout, Iron Man III) carefully crafted a very era-specific backdrop of retro Los Angeles, and employs a stellar soundtrack to set the mood and let the good (and bad) times roll. The laughs are ever present, but so is the mystery of the case at hand, and the action scenes are somewhat sparse but are well executed when they do occur. The supporting cast is terrific and effortless, Gosling’s street-smart and spunky daughter played by Angourie Rice, the cold-hearted and cruel government insider played by Kim Basinger, and the quintessential thugs (Keith David, Beau Knapp) are standouts. As much as I feared that The Nice Guys was an attempt by Warner Bros. to glossover and rebrand the 2014 commercial failure Inherent Vice, I still had high expectations for the flick and wasn’t disappointed. There’s leftfield jokes aplenty and the plot twists are generally unpredictable. So, definitely worth your time and consideration, dear reader. Something tells me a sequel could be in the works, and if so, let’s all hope it can follow in this flick’s footsteps.

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