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RUSSELL CROWE & RYAN GOSLING IN THE NICE GUYS

Nice 1970's Neon Font for Shane Black's NICE GUYS with Russell Crowe & Ryan Gosling Year: 2016
It makes complete sense that the man who created LETHAL WEAPON, in further doing his Quentin Tarantino spin on the "two polar opposites teaming up" that worked in his KISS KISS BANG BANG, would fall into the hands of the action-packed finale liken more to his own (old) thing than Tarantino's. And by the time these NICE GUYS try to groove, they're already nearing the end...

NICE to see the 70's Warner "Worm Logo" Again
One that can be seen a mile away. The formidable bad guy is named in the previous scene and, all along, there's a little pre-teen girl who you just know will wind up in danger. And she's more than a tagalong. The kid belongs to Ryan Gosling's Holland March, who, as a Private Investigator, could give Wile E. Coyote a run, or rather, fall for his money while a brooding and menacing Russell Crowe, as a guy hired to beat people to a bloody vengeful PULP named Jackson Healy, tries to keep the vehicle on an even-keel: Unfortunately, after a pretty funny and breezy first act, getting to know the quirks and smirks of both Alpha and Beta Males before and right-when they team up, there's only an investigation that, in a Film Noir Gumshoe Fashion, leads to plenty of name-dropping while trying to find one name in particular: a missing young lady mixed up in the porn business (this actually sounds more like THE BIG LEBOWSKI).

See, Crowe does resemble Goodman!
There's a moment when Gosling says he's too tired to drive. Summing things up because nothing much is happening, and there should be. Yet the story petered out miles back, and the characters kind of gave up. Especially Crowe who, either resembling an overweight version of himself or a thinner John Goodman, really had potential to make everything work since Gosling, while a capable actor, just doesn't have comedic timing to pull of the necessary "relief" throughout all the serious bloodshed....

An Old School Poster Thing Goin'
And it's not that these GUYS don't share a few excellent moments, and the movie does bring you back into the 1970's without trying too hard, or unveiling too much pop culture trivia. But Shane Black caters to the mainstream action template instead of keeping things tight and unpredictable all the way through. But if more LETHAL than FICTION is how you prefer your buddy crime flicks – guess this'll do.

RATING: ***
CONNECTIONS: Shane Black directed KISS KISS BANG BANG with two characters, one a thinner neurotic funny guy and the other a slightly overweight no-nonsense killer with experience... The funny guy was hot property in the biz while the pudgy guy was once a thin sex symbol... Same thing with THE NICE GUYS • Many will obviously recognize Kim Basinger in a small but important role (hard not to... she's trying to look exactly the same) but keep your eye out for the porn star's mom, Lois Smith, who played Jack Nicholson's sister in FIVE EASY PIECES... she's more 1970's than anyone on board • And that WORM LOGO was what Warner Brothers used in the 70's and early 80's and, according to director Joe Dante, it was replaced with the old Bugs Bunny Shield for the first time in his film, GREMLINS... Nice to see the Worm again!
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