The Nice Guys

Shane Black was once one of the hottest writers in Hollywood, commanding over a million dollars for his screenplays. After his directorial debut with “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” which was hardly a box office success, he took a break for a number of years. Then almost out of nowhere, he came roaring back with “Iron Man 3.” Today, May 20, he’s back again and better than ever with his newest offering, “The Nice Guys.”

Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a hirable enforcer in Los Angeles circa 1977. If you need to send a message to somebody, Jackson is your man. Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a down-on-his-luck private investigator who is more interested in finding his next drink than finding a missing person he is hired to find. If you need a mystery solved, Holland is NOT your man. One case involving a missing girl forces this unlikely pair to team-up, unaware of how deep the investigation will go.

“Iron Man 3” was far from perfect, but “The Nice Guys” comes pretty darn close. Shane Black does a masterful job of mixing comedy and action while capturing the look and feel of the 1970s. He’s the co-writer and director of the movie and it appears he is ready to take the next step into becoming an A-list director.

As always, these movie reviews will always be spoiler free. Sometimes that’s tough because Shane Black wrote one of his best scripts to date with “The Nice Guys” and you just want to talk about the details. He’s got great characters and he still follows the basic screenwriters rules such as, “Show, don’t tell.”

Neither Russell Crowe or Ryan Gosling have many comedies under their belts, but they are a great team in “The Nice Guys.” The genius here is that while this can be classified as an action comedy, the characters are unaware that they are in such a movie. There is no “winking” at the audience. The laughs, and there are a lot of them, are all organic. Keep your eyes on Angourie Rice who plays Gosling’s daughter in the movie. She’s a scene stealer and looks to have a great career ahead of her.

So far the summer season is off to a great start. Three weeks in a row of entertaining movies. There are a number of choices this weekend and you can’t go wrong if you pick “The Nice Guys.” It is rated R for violence, sexuality, nudity, language and brief drug use.