Is "The Nice Guys" the Greatest Comedy of All Time?: A Discussion
Let me start by saying The Nice Guys is literally one of the greatest comedies of all time. That’s right, I put this film up there with Superbad and that’s saying something! And now that I clearly have your total attention, this 2016 film directed by Shane Black is definitely a film I think has flown under most people’s radar, so my blog and I are here to help change that!
The film takes place in the late 1970’s and revolves around the suspicious deaths of everyone connected to Amelia – a girl who goes “missing” – and the two men who work together to find her and subsequently, the cause behind said deaths. As a Millennial I did have to Google some jokes and references, but what motivated me to do so was the fact that my Dad would actually laugh at those jokes! So they must be quality. Jokes aside though, what really makes me love this film is that no matter how many times I watch it, the script literally kills me every time. Protagonist Holland March – a personal investigator and widowed Father – played by my fellow Canadian Ryan Gosling, is way too relatable. Whether it’s what he says, how he acts, or how he “parents” his thirteen year old daughter Holly, March just does the most and has way too many sides to him that I see in myself, my friends, and frankly he’s just hilarious. The potential downside to saying something like that? Probably that I completely think I’d parent the same way he does – just treat your kid like a human being before the title “your child”, and just talk to them like you would anyone else. Just be real. That might come across as “bad” as he definitely can't be labelled “World’s Best Dad” but then again, who is? Point being, the man is real through and through and I’m here for it! And if you’re still curious as to what I think a really good script in the world of comedy is, just think The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Superbad and/or Brooklyn Nine-Nine. You’re welcome.
That being said, a good comedy needs more than an amazing script. What it also needs are a duo of protagonists who couldn’t be more different from one another (this may sound familiar if you’ve read my piece on The Witcher), that end up working together by chance, choice, or perhaps even against ones wishes. The Nice Guys has this key factor checked off the list with March and Healy (portrayed by a true favourite, Russell Crowe), but differs slightly because we also have March’s daughter Holly – making the duo a trio and it all just works together so damn well. First let’s take a look at March: the not so responsible, decent detective, super nonchalant, slightly pessimistic and very motivated by money, father to Holly. Second we have Healy: serious, tough guy, good detective, gets things done, tries his best to do good, and just total opposite to March. Then we have Holly: a pre-teen who gets an A+ in the responsible and sensibility department, honest, can't be pushed around, optimistic, caring and daughter to March.
Now, did you see any overlap in those protagonist character descriptions? Nope. And yet, this surprise mixed-bag of candies go pretty well together despite all the bumps in the road they come to face. Why is this important to the viewer you might ask? Because it means there’s something for everyone to relate to or at least, thoroughly enjoy. That means I can watch this film with my Dad and we’ll both have a laugh or, I can watch it with my friends and we’ll still have a laugh, signifying that The Nice Guys is bomb for all ages (well maybe 18+), and that’s something that can't always be said (and definitely can't be said for Superbad…).
Lastly, like any good comedy I just want pure entertainment, and The Nice Guys delivers. For a comedy this film is pretty action packed, so that, plus its script and characters means you don’t even need to second guess the 92% this film scored on Rotten Tomatoes. So long as you remember to pay attention to the script (that’s right I’m talking to you Millennial and Gen Z viewers who can't watch anything without also scrolling through your phone), I guarantee you 100%, you’re adding The Nice Guys to your “Top Ten Favourite Comedies of All Time” list. And like I said earlier, you're welcome.