Shane Black is and has been a force to be reckoned with since the mid to late 80’s. After writing many classic action films like Lethal Weapon, The Monster Squad and The Last Boy Scout, Black decided to take a stab at directing with Kiss Kiss Bang. After the box office hit of Iron Man 3, Black came back to his first love of action and comedy with The Nice Guys bringing together Crowe and Gosling. Will this be another hit under Black’s belt in his ever growing resume as Director? Let’s find out. And don’t worry; spoilers will be to a minimum.
The plot, which follows private eyes Jackson Healy (Crowe) and Holland March (Gosling), is ever growing as the film progresses but tries its hardest not to leave you behind. At times, it can become a bit convoluted and head scratching but when mystery that would involve the world of pornography and the auto industry come together, it’s well worth it.
The comedy is so god damn good. Crowe and Gosling are a duo you wouldn’t think about in terms of comedy, but Black saw gold and went for it. The two have amazing timing and chemistry when it comes to hitting their marks. Crowe fits the straight man role while Gosling is more of the bumbling idiot that stumbles his way to solving pieces of the mystery. At times it can get annoying because Gosling is suppose to be this really good detective, which they hammer this fact in you many times, to the point that makes you wonder if it’s dumb luck.
Another character that surprisingly works well with duo is Gosling’s daughter, Holly (Rice). I’m not a big fan of children being part of the main cast in films, but Black chose right the actress. She becomes the moral compass for Crowe and Gosling and adds to the comedy that’s not out of place. Needless to say, everyone’s acting is spot on, so, moving forward.
Black knows what he’s doing with his direction with only a few missteps. One of the biggest ones is the pacing. There are times that it’s steady with the plot developing forward, but all of a sudden slows down to focus on one or two scenes that could’ve have been shorten. There are plenty of callbacks that Black uses throughout the film that are not only funny, but useful for the characters and also makes the audience feel a part of the story. What he doesn’t have a problem with is the action. This man knows how to set up actions scenes with ease. They’re never overwhelming and flows evenly with the timing of the comedy. And yes there is a nod to Christmas near the end of the film that people of Black’s work will instantly notice.
Black has found a cozy spot with this genre. It suits him well and by the end of The Nice Guys, the idea of a possible sequel is there and welcomed. Only time will tell if Black wants to take another adventure with these two private dicks. For money, I really hope he does.