The Nice Guys
Director: Shane Black
Writer: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi
Cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Yaya DaCosta, Ty Simpkins, Keith David, Kim Basinger
Seen on: 7.6.2016
Holland March (Ryan Gosling) was hired to look into the death of porn star Misty Mountains – or rather the possibility that she isn’t dead after all. His investigation leads him to Amelia (Margaret Qualley), but Amelia really doesn’t want to be investigated. So she hires Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe) to hammer that point home and get Holland to stay away. But then Amelia disappears and Jackson suspects foul play, so he decides to team up with Holland to figure out what happened.
The Nice Guys had a lot of potential and some very funny moments, but also quite a few things that did make me a little uncomfortable, especially its treatment of women. I did enjoy it, but I didn’t love it.
The Nice Guys pretty much starts with artfully arranged boobs (on a dead girl) and it never quite leaves the objectification of female bodies behind. Since it deals with porn (among other things), it is seen as a matter of course that all women would be naked and/or sex workers. And even the no-nonsense business women like Tally (Yaya DaCosta) has to deal with Holland incessantly hitting on her – even when she has made it perfectly clear that she really isn’t interested.
In fact, basically the only female person in the film who isn’t objectified is Holland’s teenage daughter Holly (Angourie Rice), but then again she is basically one of the guys – and the film makes sure that she gets to watch the naked ladies at least. That treatment of women really didn’t sit right with me, especially since most of it is done under the guise of (edgy) humor, seemingly deflecting any criticism before it can be uttered with the age-old argument of “ugh, it’s just a joke, don’t take things so seriously.”
And it just wasn’t necessary for the film to go that way. It would have been funny even without that shittery. There are some actually hilarious scenes, Gosling and Crowe have very nice chemistry and make for a good pair. The pacing is spot on and the story happens fast, even though the film is almost two hours long, it never makes itself felt.
And yet, I can’t really say I loved the film or recommend it without caveats. Apart from my issues above, the plot is too confusing (although I liked some of the directions it was taking), Generally it just feels too much like a boys’ party where women are only tolerated – and that seems to extend to the audience as well.