The mystery in the background is locating Amelia (Margaret Qualley), who was working with Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio) just before her death on an “experimental art film” filled with nudity. The film feels current today, with an eco-friendly subplot (March and Healy question silent protesters who are sprawled on the steps of city hall, pretending to be dead from smog) and a tongue-in-cheek nod at Detroit — “If Detroit fails, America fails.” But what makes this such a welcomed flick is the dearth of truly funny buddy cop movies since the similarly titled isn’t afraid to curse, laugh and slap itself around, but it always stays sleek and marching forward, easing up at just the right times, sidestepping clichés in a genre full of them and, occasionally, truly surprising everyone.
Less than a minute has passed, in “The Nice Guys,” and the first guitar riff has barely begun, when the wah-wah pedal is applied.
This retro neo-noir buddy flick from former screenwriter wunderkind Shane Black is the latest movie after "Inherent Vice" and "High Rise" to mine the post-utopian diffusion of 70's genre fiction for riffs on regular folk chewed up and spit out by capitalist conspiracies.
As with "Inherent Vice," it's a detective flick set in the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, but where that film's pretensions had it matching Pynchon to Altman (while half-heartedly claiming the Zucker Brothers), "The Nice Guys" stays proudly lowbrow.
Like that great film, “The Nice Guys” starts in Los Angeles, in 1977, though the chronology tends to swerve.
Our heroes, Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and Holland March (Ryan Gosling), pass a billboard for “Jaws 2,” which didn’t come out until the summer of 1978.
Just before dying, naked, she says something cryptic that we only come to understand much later: “How do you like my car, big boy?
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Cut to the classroom watching this cheesy video, everyone laughing As the camera focuses on a certain female student - in front of a classmate who falls off his chair laughing - we then hear a voiceover by JACKSON HEALY(Russell Crowe)... HEALY (VO): Sure, he's three times her age, but he's got money for pot and he drives a nice car.
After a school bus passes behind her, we see Healy in a nearby bench, watching her as he reads the newspaper.