Monday, August 16, 2021

Movie Monday: The Nice Guys

During our brief respite this weekend, we enjoyed takeout dinner and a movie at home Saturday night. I was browsing through the available movies on our streaming channels when I spotted The Nice Guys, a movie from a few years ago (OK, five years ago) that I remembered hearing about and wanting to see. It was a very entertaining action/thriller with a great sense of humor, set in the 1970's.

Ryan Gosling stars as Holland March, a private investigator in 1970's Los Angeles, with a little girl, Holly (played by Angourie Rice). He's been hired to find a woman's niece who's named Amelia, played by Margaret Qualley, who it seems is being sought by a lot of different people. Along the way, he runs into (OK, gets beat up by) fellow investigator Jackson Healy, played by Russell Crowe, who's been hired to stop him from looking for Amelia. Instead, the two of them team up because it seems that the mysterious Amelia is in trouble from some very dangerous people. Later, Amelia's mother, played by Kim Basinger, officially hires them to find her. But the story she tells is very different from what others have told them. Who do they believe? The plot gets very twisty, as they race around L.A. amid fancy Hollywood parties, shoot-outs, car chases, and lots of strange people, including a wide variety of criminals. March keeps telling his daughter, Holly, to stay home, but somehow she always ends up in the middle of the action (and danger). To add to their problems, an infamous hit man named John Boy, played by Matt Bomer, has been sent to kill them. 

As you can probably tell from this description, The Nice Guys is an action-packed mystery/thriller, but it is also very funny. The backdrop of '70's fashions, cars, and music makes it all extra-fun, as the two unlucky investigators try to figure out what's going on and who to believe while searching for Amelia. The lead actors are both excellent in their roles; you get a bit of the usual dark brooding from Gosling, but he's not quite as silent in this movie as in some of his others. Crowe's character is a violent-prone but happy guy. Underneath it all, they are both "nice guys" who just want to do the right thing. Rice, as March's daughter, Holly, is an excellent young actress who holds her own among all the big names here. Aside from the recognizable names I mentioned, it's one of those movies so chock-full of talent that we kept pointing to the screen to say, "Oh, look it's that guy! What do we know him from?" Thank goodness for IMDb. There's some serious danger here, but it's all a bit tongue-in-cheek. Bottom line is that it's a fun, entertaining movie for when you don't want anything too somber. Grab the popcorn, sit back, and go along for the ride.

The Nice Guys is currently available on Hulu, with subscription, or for $3.99 rental fee on most streaming channels, including Amazon.

Check out the trailer below, to get an idea of the tone of the movie and the entertaining banter between Gosling and Crowe:

And if you enjoy this kind of entertaining action-packed thriller with a sense of humor, you might also like these movies (reviews and trailers at the links):

  • American Ultra - about a stoner turned secret agent
  • The Lovebirds - date night goes very wrong for this couple in New Orleans
  • Shaft - the 2019 remake starring Samuel L. Jackson
  • A Simple Favor - smart, twisty thriller with a great sense of humor - a favorite!

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