"The Nice Guys" is the movie equivalent of the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig. So much potential that is never realized. Like Puig, this film gets fastball after fastball thrown across the plate and misses most of them.
This was a great idea. Two sleazy detectives working in the even sleazier underbelly of Los Angeles during the late 1970s. This was a slam dunk parody that never ever materializes. With a wealth of funny historical stuff to use, director Shane Black uses very little of it. Instead, you get your typical comical private eye buddy movie that could just as well be set in 2016.
Oh, there's a bit of nostalgia used. There are gas lines and smog alerts. The fashions are straight from "Soul Train" and, as expected, there are sinister people dabbling in the porn industry. Every once in a while, they give you a 70's hit on the soundtrack. But this is a movie that screamed for wall-to-wall music from the era. Truly disappointing.
Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are the leads and they, as you would predict, don't get along immediately. Indeed, Gosling has physical damage done to his body almost constantly to the point where he (and the audience) begin to wonder if he;s indestructible. There's a confusing plot about a dead or maybe not dead porno queen. And there is a bit of inspired cleverness by including Gosling's young daughter as part of the team, although Protective Child Services would likely step in these days. But, overall, you keep waiting for fun to start that never does.
There is the unanticipated on-screen reunion of Crowe and his "LA Confidential" co-star Kim Basinger. And, yes, that was Gil "Buck Rogers" Gerard in a bit part. But, the producers could have had a field day loading this up with TV stars from the 70's. But they didn't, The movie that was developing in my mind was a lot better than what was on the big screen.
Just like Puig....strike three!!!
LEN'S RATING: Two stars.
Dinner last night: Hot dog at the Hollywood Bowl.