Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are unexpectedly silly in the NSFW ‘Nice Guys’ trailer

12.04.15 2 years ago

I love Shane Black.

The strange part is that I didn't realize how much I loved him until he started directing his own material. I read the spec scripts that put him on the map like “Lethal Weapon” and “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” and I admired them on the page, but the films didn't seem to quite capture whatever it was that made them so much fun. Oddly, considering how humorless Tony Scott's movies typically were, “The Last Boy Scout” seemed to me to be the closest thing to the experience of reading a Shane Black script out of any of his films.

Then he made “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and I realized no other director really understood the tone that Black was writing. KKBB was nimble in a way none of his other films were, light and silly while also making sure the violence hurt, and it felt like a revelation. Sure, part of what made it special was the casting of Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, an unlikely comic pairing that paid off huge dividends.

Earlier this year, I went to the set of “The Nice Guys,” Black's new film, and I'm prepared to say without any fear of being wrong that Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are both going to surprise the hell out of you as a comedy team. Watching them work together, it was apparent that Gosling has been holding out on us. He was throwing out all sorts of crazy comedy ideas, and Crowe was having a blast keeping up with him. I've interviewed Crowe a number of times over the years, and I have never seen the guy who was on the “Nice Guys” set before. He was downright slap-happy by the point we sat down to talk to them, and even more than the extended sizzle reel they showed us, it was Crowe's attitude that sold me on this one. That guy does not smile easily, and he couldn't stop smiling the entire time we were there.

The red-band trailer premiered today on the AMC website, and it's a blast. This may be, thanks to Mystikal (channeling James Brown), the most f-bombs I've ever heard in one trailer. I was surprised by how much of the story they revealed, but that's fine. What makes a Shane Black film sing is the dialogue and the interplay, and they do a terrific job of showing how that chemistry works here. I also love that Kim Basinger plays the woman who sets this particular caper in motion when she hires Russell Crowe to find her daughter.

From the stylized Warner Bros logo to the truly bonkers violence to Gosling's relationship with his daughter, everything about this looks like a good time, and setting it in the '70s just gives Black an extra set of toys to enjoy. I can't wait for this one, and it should be part of the avalanche of awesome we've got coming in 2016.

“The Nice Guys” hits theaters May 20, 2016, just in time for my birthday. Thanks, Shane!

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