THE NICE GUYS Review — Boogie, Booze, Broads, Brilliance

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nice guys reviewTHE NICE GUYS Review

by Lisa Johnson Mandell

Even if you didn’t grow up in the ’70’s, you’ll love this retro cop comedy starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. And if you did grow up in the ’70’s? You’ll love it even more. The music, the clothes, the cars, the hair, the banter — even the wallpaper — will take you back to those balmy boogie nights of your youth and make you want to grab your hair pick and head to the disco.

But first you’ll want to see how two seedy detectives and a twelve-year-old girl semi-solve a crime that involves a porn queen, the auto industry, L.A. politics, a mermaid tank and cigarettes. Not necessarily in that order.

This is writer/director Shane Black at his finest. The man responsible for such diverse works as Iron Man 3, Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, As Good As It Gets and Predator really hits his stride, having Crowe and Gosling play it slow and low key, bumbling, yet somehow curiously effective. Who knew they could be so funny, and have such perfect timing and chemistry? Black’s script and Gosling’s delivery are the very definition of dry wit and humor, sparked by outlandish pratfalls and skewed wisdom. Put that together with Crowe’s tawdry gravitas, and you have one triumphant triumvirate, cinematically speaking.

Now I must confess, I’m hardly impartial. I’m always inclined to like a film based in my beloved Los Angeles, and when a movie is made on the street where a good friend lives, I get so focused on identifying the locations that I sometimes forget to pay attention to the other, more important aspects of a film. But The Nice Guys could have been set anywhere, and still would have tickled our collective fancy. In this day and age when comedies are increasingly ridiculous strings of in-your-face-one-liners, it’s nice to see a film that’s sharp, understated and infinitely amusing. I’ll be surprised if a better comedy is released this year.

Rated R

1 Hour 56 Minutes

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THE NICE GUYS Review — Boogie, Booze, Broads, Brilliance

by Lisa Johnson Mandell


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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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