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The Nice Guys: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review

The Nice Guys (2016) movie poster The Nice Guys

Theatrical Release: May 20, 2016 / Running Time: 116 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Shane Black / Writers: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi

Cast: Russell Crowe (Jackson Healy), Ryan Gosling (Holland March), Angourie Rice (Holly March), Matt Bomer (John Boy), Margaret Qualley (Amelia Kuttner), Yaya Dacosta (Tally), Keith David (Older Guy), Beau Knapp (Blueface), Lois Smith (Mrs. Glenn), Murielle Telio (Misty Mountains), Gil Gerard (Bergen Paulsen), Daisy Tahan (Jessica), Kim Basinger (Judith Kuttner), Jack Kilmer (Chet), Lance Valentine Butler (Kid on Bike), Ty Simpkins (Bobby), Hannibal Buress (voice of Bumble)

Buy The Nice Guys from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD DVD Instant Video

After getting a taste of blockbuster superherodom on Iron Man 3, longtime screenwriter
Shane Black returns to less lucrative action-comedy filmmaking on The Nice Guys, his third film as director. Written by Black and newcomer Anthony Bagarozzi, Nice Guys is set in 1977 Los Angeles and feels a lot like Lethal Weapon, the film that launched Black's screenwriting career.

Stout for-hire enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) crosses paths with widowed single dad private eye Holland March (Ryan Gosling). Initially, Healy meets March on business, warning him to stay away from his client, an afraid young woman named Amelia (Margaret Qualley), whom March has been hired to find as a missing person. In Healy's line of work, "warning" includes a broken arm. Soon thereafter, the two very different men, hard-hitting Healy and heavy-drinking March, team up to find Amelia and protect her from those who are out to get her.

In "The Nice Guys", enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) teams up with private eye Holland March (Ryan Gosling) to investigate the disappearance of the daughter of Los Angeles' chief prosecutor in 1977.

Amelia, the daughter of L.A.'s chief prosecutor (a brief Kim Basinger), has gotten mixed up with some shady types after making an "experimental" film (i.e. a porno). Now, hardened hitmen are out to kill her and others she has dealt with as well as eliminating the film she made.

Nice Guys is driven by a suitable blend of plot and character. It gives us plenty of both, as it follows Healy and March to a lavish party in the hills where partially naked girls dance and bend over to be mistaken for tables, Earth, Wind & Fire plays "September", and March's 13-year-old daughter Holly (Angourie Rice) sneaks in to do some sleuthing of her own and becomes the kind of undersized third wheel Joe Pesci was in Lethal Weapon 3 (which Black did not write).

The film has fun with the music, fashions, politics, and cars of the period setting, but it never sends up the '70s or settles for spoofing it. That is simply the backdrop for a sharply-written buddy comedy, the likes of which we haven't seen in quite a while.

Ryan Gosling delivers what is sure to be one of 2016's funniest performances as smell-impaired, hard-drinking private detective Holland March in "The Nice Guys."

Crowe perhaps has never been this easygoing or likable before. For once, he seems to be having fun, not just exorcising demons or convincing you he's a great actor. Quite a bit better is Gosling, whose comedy chops have been noticed before but rarely showcased to this extent. Gosling's humorous performance is exactly the kind of thing that should, but probably won't,
feature in the Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical category at next year's Golden Globes. I highly doubt we'll see five worthier turns in genuine comedies over the next four months.

Nice Guys doesn't blow you away with twists or leave you thinking. It simply entertains consistently and without lapse for close to two full hours. Judging from the high regard with which Black's directorial debut, 2005's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, is held, this is the kind of movie on which he thrives, a crime caper with as much humor as action that succeeds equally at both tasks.

Though critics overwhelmingly liked the film (91% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and most of those who saw it too (7.5 average rating on IMDb), Nice Guys still struggled to find an audience in theaters, where it opened across from Neighbors 2 and The Angry Birds Movie with $300+ million behemoths Captain America: Civil War and The Jungle Book still going strong. Nice Guys opened in fourth place and even good word of mouth could only see it triple its opening weekend gross, finishing with $36.2 million domestic and less than that overseas. Obviously, those numbers are not nearly strong enough for the film to tap its noticeable sequel potential, without it becoming some kind of cult classic on video, which doesn't seem to happen much anymore.

Nonetheless, Nice Guys gets its next big chance to find an audience in this week's DVD and Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD releases.

The Nice Guys: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Descriptive Video Service, French, Spanish)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Descriptive Service, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Suggested Retail Price: $35.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-50 & DVD-9)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as standalone DVD ($28.98 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Though it has an old school aesthetic, The Nice Guys certainly also boasts the high quality of a 2016 film on Blu-ray. The 2.40:1 picture is sharp, spotless, and nicely detailed, while the 5.1 DTS-HD master audio mix is appropriately full of life, distributing period songs, gunfire, and dialogue with impact, purpose, and clarity.

Director Shane Black shares a laugh with Ryan Gosling in "Always Bet on Black." "Worst. Detectives. Ever." gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the making of "The Nice Guys."

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Nice Guys is joined by just two short bonus features on Blu-ray.

"Always Bet on Black" (5:27) allows the cast and crew to sing the praises of writer-director Shane Black, the story he tells, and the world he builds.

"Worst. Detectives. Ever.: Making The Nice Guys" (6:16) discusses the script's evolution as well as the lead and supporting cast and the characters they play.

Oddly, though well under dual-layered capacity, the DVD only includes "Always Bet on Black."

Both discs open with trailers for War Dogs, The Legend of Tarzan, The Conjuring 2, and Batman: The Killing Joke, as well as a digital movies promo that plays second on Blu-ray and last on DVD.

An insert supplying your Digital HD with UltraViolet and advertising 4K Ultra HD is all that joins the plain silver DVD and black Blu-ray inside the slipcovered eco-friendly keepcase.

Each disc's basic menu applies score to an adaptation of poster/cover art.

Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and Holland March (Ryan Gosling) reconsider getting off the elevator based on what they see in one of the funniest scenes of "The Nice Guys."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Eight months in, The Nice Guys remains one of 2016's best and quite possibly the year's best movie you haven't seen. A winning mix of action and laughs, this buddy comedy delivers in a big way, breathing life into a very old tradition and without being simply a throwback or homage.

Warner's Blu-ray combo pack is embarrassingly light on extras, but the feature presentation leaves no room for complaint. With its evident replay value, the film is good enough to recommend buying.

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Related Reviews:
Written and Directed by Shane Black: Iron Man 3
New to Disc: Keanu Demolition The Bronze The Angry Birds Movie A Hologram for the King
Ryan Gosling: Drive The Big Short Crazy, Stupid, Love. Blue Valentine Gangster Squad
Russell Crowe: The Water Diviner Virtuosity Noah Winter's Tale The Insider Man of Steel
Buddy Comedies: Hot Fuzz Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Ride Along The Other Guys Planes, Trains & Automobiles
1970s: Inherent Vice Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Space Station 76 Semi-Pro American Hustle Lovelace

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Reviewed August 22, 2016.



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