The Nice Guys | Movie Review

Kernel John gets his cheekiness on by ribbing me over an old person faux pas – I have been calling THE NICE GUYS The Good Guys for days and days, I am getting all befuddled ;). Anyways, John also reviews THE NICE GUYS, you know the hilarious new film from Shane Black starring Crowe and Gosling, I am devastated I missed this screening last week, was stuck at a doctor’s appointment too late to make it, luckily for me John stepped up to the plate. THE NICE GUYS is out now from the wonderful peeps at Roadshow Films, it is rated MA15+ and runs for 116mins. Enjoy John’s review and as always get your white-goods from THE NICE GUYS…………JK.


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In 1952 in Essendon, Victoria, Ian Muir founded the iconic Australian retail electronics store that would go on to be known as The Good Guys.  More than 60 years later, the Muir family now own and operate 100 stores across the country.  In a market where the national pillar of Dick Smith has already gone the way of the dodo, The Good Guys chain continues to stand the test of time with its family friendly atmosphere, ridiculous television adverts and damn catchy slogan.

Colonel Kernel Jason King aka the messiah (Ed’s Note: I love being the editor), so full of patriotic fervour for this, the original Golden Age electronics store, practically squealed for joy when the fine folks at Roadshow Films invited him to come and view their latest film.  Maybe it was his love of country, maybe it was the six bottles of Pinot he had already consumed, or maybe it was his hitherto undiagnosed mild dyslexia, but for whatever reason, Jason had somehow confused The Good Guys chain, for THE NICE GUYS movie.  It was not until later the next night, when Jason was belting out Waltzing Matilda at the top of his lungs, while stumbling back home from the ribbon cutting ceremony of the newly opened 101st The Good Guys store, that realisation suddenly struck him.  “Wait, something’s not right.  That wasn’t a movie!  Oh no, I’m at the wrong place!  Craaaaaaaaaaaaap!” he said to himself, or so I like to imagine that inner monologue went.  “John,” he said, calling me up on the phone, “I got mixed up and forgot to go to the film screening!  You need to hightail it down to the cinema right now, the movie’s about to start and I won’t make it in time!”


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And so began my introduction to director Shane Black’s (IRON MAN 3) incredibly enjoyable black comedy THE NICE GUYS.  Set in 1977 Los Angeles and starring Academy Award winner Russell Crowe (GLADIATOR) as feckless standover man Jackson Healy and Ryan Gosling (THE BIG SHORT) as alcoholic private detective Holland March, the film follows this unlikely duo as they team up to solve a terrible murder mystery.

March is originally hired to track down Misty, a woman the media claims was killed two days prior.  March’s benefactor, Misty’s aunt, is certain she saw her niece alive after the news story broke.  March’s initial investigation leads him to Amelia Kutner, played by Margaret Qualley (HBO television series THE LEFTOVERS), a young woman determined not to be found.  Kutner hires Healy to send March a message to stop following her, in Healy’s favoured language: fist-to-face.  However, after their initial altercation, both March and Healy begin to realise that there is more to this situation than meets the eye.  When Healy receives word that Kutner’s life is in danger, he and March team up to try and locate her to keep her safe, along the way stumbling backwards into a national conspiracy at some of the highest levels of government involving money, murder, power, pornography, and suppression of the automotive catalytic converter technology.


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The acting in THE NICE GUYS is superb.  Both Crowe and Gosling shine in their roles.  The banter and interaction between the two leads is equally as brilliant; they both feed off of each other in such a wonderful way.  From bad guys, to porn stars, to obnoxious kids in the street, the supporting cast is just as fantastic, each member playing their part perfectly to further enhance and bring to life the scene and the era in which the film is set.  The standout performer has to be young Australian actress Angourie Rice (THESE FINAL HOURS) who plays March’s daughter, Holly.  Acting as the group’s moral compass, Holly both encourages and tempers March and Healy when things start to go off course.  Rice is a definite rising star to watch out for.  The direction, production and cinematography of THE NICE GUYS is superb as well, a true testament to Black’s lead.  The comedic moments are truly hilarious and perfectly delivered, at times leaving audience members breathless with laughter.

If the film has one sore point, it is the slightly confusing and convoluted story.  It seems Kutner has become aware of a treacherous plot orchestrated by the automobile companies to release environmentally damaging vehicles onto the market.  Though aware of their actions, the companies deem the costs of correcting the issue too great, and would rather pollute the planet then see their profit margins shrink.  Determined not to let them get away with their deception, Kutner gathers the relevant evidence to expose the companies and does what any good hearted individual would in such a situation: makes a pornographic movie, titillatingly titled How Do You Like My Car, Big Boy?  Kind of like a quasi-journalistic/porn cross.  A journographic movie?  A pornolistic film?  Anyway, because everyone appears to be in on the scheme, Kutner cannot go to the police and so reveals (tee hee) her big secrets (ha!) to the stimulated (I can do this all night) audience by way of the porno’s plot (apparently, that is a thing).  When word reaches the car companies that the film will soon be released, they mobilise their thugs to destroy the sex tape and kill anyone associated with the erotica.  The tenuous link between all the characters and THE NICE GUYS’s initial impetus (searching for Misty), is finally all drawn together by the film’s end, though it felt like a bit of a stretch.


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All in all though THE NICE GUYS is a hysterically entertaining movie with an incredibly talented cast and a riotous plot that only occasionally gets a little lost.  You cannot help but love everyone in the film, be they good guy or bad, and the synergy and wisecracks between Crowe and Gosling are absolutely perfect.  If you are a fan of either of those two stars, or of dark action comedies in the same sort of vein as AMERICAN HUSTLE, then this is a movie for you.


4 Pops



A lifelong lover of the silver screen, Kernel John strives to engage and entertain his audience through the shameless use of humour in his reviews, even when it probably isn’t warranted. When not musing for Salty, you can often find John bouncing between his extreme states of either puppy watching down by the beach, or reflecting on the deepest mysteries of the Universe.

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.