“THE NICE GUYS” My rating: C116 minutes | MPAA rating: R
Moviegoers recognize that trailers are basically a form of publicly sanctioned lying. Filmmakers will do just about anything to make their next release come off as a gotta-see-it necessity.
Given this tendency toward fudging the facts, the trailer for “The Nice Guys” is brutally honest.
It makes the film look like a loser. Which is exactly what it is.
Directed and co-written by Shane Black (with a writing assist from Anthony Bagarozzi), this action comedy wants to emulate the violent/comic nexus exemplified by the old Nick Nolte/Eddie Murphy pair-up “48 Hrs.”
With stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling and a late 1970s disco-drenched atmosphere, “The Nice Guys” seems promising. But its thrills and laughs are modest at best.
Cop-turned-private eye Holland March (Gosling) meets muscle Jackson Healy (Crowe) when the latter is hired to break the former’s arm. Nothing personal — someone wants Holland to give up his search for a missing deb named Amelia (Margaret Qualley of HBO’s “The Leftovers”).
Despite this not-promising initial encounter, Holland and Jackson find themselves teaming up to locate the missing girl and uncover a vast criminal conspiracy.
They’re odd bedfellows. Jackson is a human fireplug with a slow burn and a calculating style. Holland is a boozy jerkoff who succeeds more by luck than perseverance.
Rounding out the team is Holland’s young daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice), a fearless young soul who provides the two grown men with a moral compass.