Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Good Fellas

Writer/producer/director and sometimes actor Shane Black, famously (or infamously) known for such mindless popcorn guilty pleasures as ‘Lethal Weapon’ 1 and 2, ‘The Last Boy Scout,’ ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight,’ ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ and most recently ‘Iron Man 3,’  returns to his campy action movie roots with the Russell Crowe/Ryan Gosling neo-noir retro buddy action-comedy ‘The Nice Guys’ which, in the final analysis, is more fun than it ever has a right to be despite being a veritable mess.

Set in L.A. during the funky and groovy 1970’s, ‘The Nice Guys’ follows the adventures (or rather misadventures) of “locked and loaded” enforcer Jackson Healey (Crowe) and his sidekick, "charmed and dangerous” private dick Holland March (Gosling), as they try to solve “the mysterious case of the dead porn star.”  Along the way, they come across the “crazy and beautiful” dame-in-the-yellow-dress Amelia (Margaret Qualley, daughter of Andie MacDowell), who’s hunted by goons “Blue Face” and “Older Guy” (Keith David) as well as “cruel and unusual” hitman “John Boy” (Matt Bomer).  Helping the bumbling duo is Holland’s “sweet and sassy” teenage daughter Holly (Angourie Rice), who channels her inner Nancy Drew to help her dad take down the anything-but-nice-guys, aka the Detroit auto industry.

Over the top, oftentimes frustrating and saddled with an unnecessarily convoluted plot, ‘The Nice Guys’ is vintage Shane Black and we just wouldn't have it any other way.  Despite its flaws ‘The Nice Guys’ is everything the critics (90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) say it is: a fun, joyful and über-violent romp down memory lane.

Grade: A-

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