Saturday, May 21, 2016

Nice Guys [2016]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (O)  ChicagoTribune (2 1/2 Stars) (3 Stars)  AVClub (B)  Fr. Dennis (1 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (B. Tallerico) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review  

Nice Guys [2016] (directed and cowritten by Shane Black along with Anthony Bagarozzi) proved to me to be a mess.

While the characters themselves are well-drawn, the core of film's problems is the story:

Set in the late 1970s in Los Angeles, all kinds of people associated with a seemingly random two-bit / "indie" porn flick are being killed for a Chinatown [1974]-esque conspiratorial reason (so far so good ...) 'cept that _the violence_ in the story gets progressively so ratcheted-up that by film's end it's just absurd.  The film's climactic no holds barred shootout at a 1970s era Los Angeles Convention (if it had actually happened) would have been the equivalent of the Black September attack on the 1972 Munich Olympic Games or, frankly, 9/11, something that both _couldn't_ and _wouldn't_ be "hushed-up."  So call the film the "Jurassic World [2015] of crime stories" where even _a good / compelling premise_ has to be amped-up to absurd heights.

And it's a shame because the actors -- Russell Crowe / Ryan Gosling (playing an odd-couple pair of Private Eyes, one with a license, the other kinda "über-ing" it), Angurie Rice (playing Gosling's character's precocious 13-year-old daughter, who finds herself "growing up really fast" by _repeatedly_ "seeing things" that really _no_ thirteen year old should ever have to see), Margaret Qualley (playing a Patty Hearst meets Lyndsey Lohan-like character named Amelia who comes to be at the center of the initially quite well-spun story. She could have really had a conscience, or she could have just been out to embarrass her mother (played by Kim Basinger) a high powered U.S. District Judge) -- deserved better.  Sigh ...

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