The Nice Guys is a charming cocktail of comedy and crime following two screw-ups who save the day. Russell Crowe plays bone-breaking thug for hire Jackson Healy, while Gosling's P.I. March is a bumbling alcoholic and well-intentioned-but-in-over-his-head single dad who trips and tumbles to case-related revelations. March’s daughter, the precocious, 13-going-on-30 Holly (Angourie Rice) serves as a moral compass for the mismatched pair, who come together to solve the case of a murdered porn star.
Slapstick silliness ensues as March and Healy kick ass and get their asses kicked hot on the trail of a string of clues that point to conspiracy at the highest level. It’s a solid setup to showcase the chemistry between a deadpan Crowe and a squeamish Gosling, even if the whodunnit aspect gets a little convoluted at times.
Our titular duo aren’t actually nice guys — not at first, at least (spoiler?) — but they are as likable as bad good guys come, thanks to some wonderfully human moments that give us high hopes for the lowlifes, like when Healy explains why the local police know him as “the guy from the diner."
The Nice Guys sets itself up as a would-be franchise, and boy is it a franchise I hope takes off. While the last thing we need is another trip to been-there-done-that land, a buddy comedy that actually has a clue how to make audiences laugh is nice indeed. Black, Gosling, and Crowe: Nice, guys.