2016, Movies

The Nice Guys (2016, Shane Black)

This is pretty hilarious slapstick buddy comedy mashed up with a period film noir set in LA in 1977. I didn’t realize this is the guy who made¬†Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but it was, and if you liked that movie, you’ll no doubt like this.

This takes the buddy comedy to new levels of slapstick, as the gags start pretty much right away and continue throughout the film. But, in addition to the slapstick, and the typical¬†Odd Couple bickering of a buddy cop movie, there are also some pretty good period jokes, written for the 1977 LA setting. So it’s a consistently funny comedy.

But what makes it more compelling than just a decent copy buddy comedy is the mystery at the heart of the film, which is worthy of a decent film noir. In fact, it’s entirely possible to imagine a serious version of this movie with the same plot, but without the pratfalls. What I’m saying is the mystery is strong enough to have supported a film without the comedy

So the comedy’s strong enough and the mystery’s strong enough. And it’s a neat combination and mostly works really well, as both a funny movie and a movie you want to know the outcome of.

But the reason I don’t give it higher marks is that I think there are a few flaws in the execution.

Though most of the scenes involving Holly are handled pretty damn well – and I appreciate how the tween is a major part of this movie, as it’s a unique twist on the buddy comedy – but a few scenes with her and Healy get a little too sappy for the tone of the rest of the film. There does seem a compulsion in Hollywood to (mostly) get a little sappy when a child is involved, and though it’s only indulged a bit here, it’s indulged enough for you to stop and think about it (and notice you’re not laughing).

I also think the reason for the conspiracy at the heart of the mystery could be articulated a little bit better, as if you are not up on the history of the automotive industry in the United States, you might be a little confused.

But it’s still pretty great, and I’d highly recommend seeing it.


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