This is a curate’s egg of a film – good in parts. It’s sets out to be a pastiche of a corny 1970s Blaxploitation movie, and it succeeds almost too well for its own good. The plot is very ’70s, a light, far fetched, political conspiracy theory.
The characters are caricatures. Ryan Gosling as Holland March is quite knowing about it and carries it off very well, we get to like him and he is actually very funny. Russell Crowe seems to be just walking through the film saying his lines, so his character is two dimensional. Angourie Rice is great as Holland’s daughter and also has some of the best lines of the show.
This movie contains violence, sex references, nudity, bad language and drug use; all gratuitous, all characteristic of the time. Not so funny in itself but funny because in the 70s they were only recently able to put these into films, so they did, even if it was unnecessary. The humour is broad, bordering on slapstick, but it works, mostly
The sets are perfect and costumes are right on. I particularly enjoyed the soundtrack, apparently some of the songs were too late for the time in which it was set, but they felt right to me.
On balance, Shane Black has done an excellent job directing “The Nice Guys” in that, from slight material, he has made a little go a long way.