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Nice Guys, The (Blu-ray Review)

25 Aug, 2016 By: John Latchem

Box Office $36.26 million
$28.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for violence, sexuality, nudity, language and brief drug use
Stars Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David, Kim Basinger.

Shane Black has been linked to so many fan-favorite films for the past 30 years that it’s hard to imagine that The Nice Guys is only the third film he’s actually directed (following 2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and 2013’s Iron Man 3, both with Robert Downey Jr.).

Playing off the buddy trope Black knows so well (he wrote Lethal Weapon, after all, and co-wrote this one), The Nice Guys serves as a hilarious homage to 1970s noir.

The story plays like a delightful pastiche of Chinatown, The Big Lebowski and “Inspector Gadget,” as a lousy private detective (whose cases are usually solved by his inquisitive pre-teen daughter) stumbles a vast political conspiracy with ties to the porn industry.

The festivities kick off in 1977 (and wow, does the film do a great job turning back the clock to a Los Angeles that feels period-appropriate). Ryan Gosling plays the hapless private dick, March, who is hired by an elderly lady to track down her niece, a porn star the rest of the world thinks is dead. But March’s poking around spooks one of the dead girl’s lookalike co-stars, Amelia, who hires a thug named Healy (Russell Crowe) to convince him to back off. When some armed heavies call on Healy so they can find Amelia, he joins forces with March to try to figure out exactly what is going on.

The winning chemistry between Crowe and Gosling make it easy to breeze through the story, helped along the way by the charming Angourie Rice as Holly, March’s tween daughter and the real brains behind his operation.

It’s a shame the movie didn’t do better at the box office to justify a healthier extras package on the Blu-ray. All we get are two EPK-style featurettes running a total of 12 minutes. “Always Bet on Black” starts with the cast praising Shane Black before he delves into the process of combining disparate elements into a single narrative and mood. And then there’s “Worst. Detectives. Ever. Making The Nice Guys,” which is mostly talking heads describing the movie for the better part of six minutes.

Hopefully this will become enough of a hit on home video for a meatier disc to pop up down the line, one which contains a full-length commentary from Black at the very least.

About the Author: John Latchem

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