Hypothetical Netflix Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars
Do you know who Shane Black is? Let me rephrase that: you know who Shane Black is. At the age of 22, he sold the script to a little movie called Lethal Weapon and the action genre has forever since been changed. Black was paid a quarter of a million dollars for the script and the studio reportedly gave him another $125,000 just to come up with an idea for a sequel. The early 90’s were great for Shane Black. A script by him could easily sell for six-figures. He was hot.
Because critics were starting to call him a hack, mostly because he created a formula which was flooding the market with buddy action flicks. Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending. After almost a decade, he came back with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3 (He’s really good at writing Robert Downey Jr.). He also wrote and directed The Nice Guys (2016), you know, the movie I’m supposed to review.
What sets any Shane Black movie apart from most is the dialogue. He uses what is commonly referred to as witty banter. Every character in his movies are smart, clever, funny, or a combination of the three and this great verbal ping-pong takes places. The Nice Guys was no exception, witty banter galore.
The film follows Jackson Healy, Russell Crowe, and Holland March, Ryan Gosling, who are a pair of mismatch private eyes solving a case involving an apparent suicide during the 70’s. If only it was set during the holiday season, then it would be super Shane Black. Seriously, home boy has a thing for Christmas in L.A. it’s the backdrop for a surprising amount of his movies (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3. That’s just off the top of my head.)
The movie offers what a good mix of action and comedy, most of the laughs coming from Gosling’s character. The plot unfolds like a good detective story should, so no points docked there.
What holds this movie back is…well nothing. It’s not rated higher because, well, I kinda get the vibe they weren’t out to make a master piece. It’s basic Shane Black. It’s Lethal Weapon in the 70’s, privatized. This a bread and butter, entertaining movie. It’s not gold, but it’s damn good.