In 1970s LA, a careless private eye teams up with an earnest tough guy to track down a young lady tied to a mysterious adult film.
I’ll cut to the chase (sequence): though I loved this funny, irresponsible film, I don’t think it would be the cup of tea for most Reading Date readers. I’m writing this to announce the arrival of an insanely talented teen actress, Australian performer Angourie Rice. If you get dragged to this film for whatever reason, Rice’s confident, nuanced performance will make the trip worth your while.
In case you’re worried, Rice doesn’t play the adult-film actress. She’s Holly, the whip-smart daughter of Holland March (Ryan Gosling), a clumsy private eye hired to find missing girl Amelia. After some fisticuffs with local bruiser Healy (Russell Crowe), the two join forces to find the girl. They uncover a conspiracy that somehow ties together the Justice Department, the Detroit auto industry, and the adult-film business in LA. As sleuths, March and Healy are sloppy and undisciplined, but they get the job done.
Their secret weapon is clever young Holly, who insists on tagging along to help them solve the case. Her instincts are precise, her observations are sharp, and her courage in the face of bad men is unflinching. Many young actresses might play Holly as precocious or shrill, but Rice handles the part with intelligence and grace; you feel like cheering every time she’s on screen. In her capable hands, Holly’s not only the brains of this team but its heart as well.
I think there’s too much roughness and raunch here for me to recommend The Nice Guys to readers outright. But certainly keep an eye out for Angourie Rice in upcoming projects, such as the teen thriller Jasper Jones; she’s a young actress to watch.