When Ryan Gosling makes a movie, you better know I am going to make considerable effort to see it.
Drop the kids with their grandma, pay a teenager to sort of pay attention to them while they play video games and she texts her friends incessantly, or haul them to the theater with me and deposit them in whichever kid movie is playing around the same time with definitive instructions and $5 to blow in the arcade afterwards (this time it was Angry Birds and they loved it) – all of that is on the table.
I made it happen this weekend in order to take in his newest police-esque thriller-comedy.
Is that a word?
Regardless, Ryan Gosling (March) joined forces with Russell Crowe (Healy) in a film about two private investigators (I’m using that term super loosely here to describe what they do) whose paths cross (and by cross I mean Healy is hired to rough up March who has been hired to find someone associated with Healy’s client) causing them to join forces on a convoluted case against what ultimately turns out to be The Man.
Watch The Nice Guys
Both characters face personal drama. March suffers from a somewhat comical drinking problem born of his wife’s death and the burden of raising his headstrong daughter.
And Healy … um … I don’t recall exactly but it’s something about the age old struggle of feeling useful and being a good person.
The movie follows their attempt to piece together a case that started with the murder of the popular porn star, Misty Mountains, and morphed into locating and then protecting Amelia, a less popular activist-turned-porn-actress-for-a-cause who is also the daughter of the head of the Department of Justice.
With the help of the aforementioned headstrong daughter and some interesting witnesses, the two embark on a journey to solve a case that nearly gets them — and half of 1970s Hollywood and its burgeoning porn industry — slaughtered.
These detectives weren’t mental giants, the porn stars and the Hollywood people they played with weren’t sober, the government wasn’t on the up and up, the car companies they turn out to be battling were basically gangsters, and the ’70s were a complete mess of craziness, booze, and experimental drugs adorned with glitter and big hair.
In the end they fail, but also win, and no one is surprised or disappointed about any of it.
I know, it sounds confusing, and that, friends, is because it was. But in that good-natured, enjoyable way thrilledies are able to make work for those of us who choose to view them.
And what did I love most?
That in the face of murder and mayhem and corruption and sex, there were moments when I was snorting my soda through my nose and choking on my popcorn while dying over the dialogue and the hapless insanity March and Healy found themselves bumbling through (albeit, March more than Healy – he was the messy drunk after all).
I can fully admit that the story may have had holes, that the plot probably lacked depth, that some of the other shortcomings high level movie critics noted were probably not said without merit, but none of that made a dent in my level of enjoyment of this film.
Because as far as I’m concerned, a good movie is about more than whether or not every plot twist is believable and supported, or if every interaction evokes a certain type and intensity of emotion.
For me, a good movie can just be good because it kept me interested, made me laugh, and allowed me to feel awesome thanks to the characters and their ability to make me love them a little.
Totally, with this film.
I thought the chemistry between Crowe and Gosling was perfect. The comedy was well-timed and sensible. The existence of March’s daughter as the brains of the operation and moral compass of both her father and Healy, gave the story an added level of heart as well as comedy. Throw in a bit of sleaze, a lot of slapstick, some necessary violence, unbelievable action sequences, and even some drunken adventure, and I am SO here for it.
I can’t say I think a movie ticket to see any film is worth $13, but since there’s no getting around it, this would be one I’d suggest biting the bullet for.
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