Movie review: “The Nice Guys”

During my day off yesterday, Denise and I saw “The Nice Guys.”

Capsule Review: Denise liked this a lot better than I did. Set in the late 1970s in Los Angeles, Ryan Gosling is a hapless private eye (think Richie Brockelman in “The Rockford Files”) who’s coerced into working with a tough guy enforcer played by Russell Crowe.

The reluctant duo is paid to find an aspiring porn film star who’s on the run from mobsters and a federal agent.

It suffers from an attack of what Roger Ebert used to call “idiot plot” (that is, several of the characters act like complete idiots) and the conspiracy that Gosling and Crowe unravel is a pretty dumb one. (Even Crowe’s character, at one point, remarks on the stupidity of it.) And Gosling’s character, a widowed, single father with whom we’re supposed to sympathize, is less of an amiable goof than an obnoxious bore.

That being said, there are some laugh-out-loud scenes, the action is generally well done, and it moves along at a nice, quick pace. It’s Cheez Whiz, but at least it’s brand-name Cheez Whiz, not the generic stuff. (Look for Gil Gerard — aka “Buck Rogers” — in a small part.)

I’d give it 2.5 out of 4 stars. Like I said, Denise liked this better than I did, and it’s got something like a 91 percent on RottenTomatoes.com, so I’m willing to admit I may be wrong. It’s not bad, and if you’re looking for a summer movie that’s not a superhero movie, it’s definitely not a bad choice. I just think it could have been better.

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