The Nice Guys

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Nice Guys Movie Poster Image
Freewheeling buddy comedy has lots of mature content.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 116 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid the characters' iffy actions/decisions is the idea that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Also, redemption is available for anyone who wants it. And it's important to do the right thing, even if it doesn't solve everything.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While neither Healy nor March would win any major ethics/character awards, they both operate with a certain sense of right vs. wrong, falling mostly on this side of right. March is also a devoted father, though his specific parenting choices are iffy. He also drives drunk. A teen girl is the movie's moral center, though even she does some things that put her in harm's way.

Violence

Frequent, realistic action violence: Characters are punched, shot at, killed, and more; one falls to his death with a giant splat, which is shown. The action is bone-crunching, sometimes relentless, and at times graphic. Children are frequently in peril.

Sex

Focus on the porn industry. A young teen ogles a porn magazine and later a naked woman (her breasts are very much on display). Women are shown walking around topless an/or in sheer/scant clothing. Bare backsides seen. A man sits on the toilet with only a magazine covering his privates. In one scene, a teen is (presumably) watching a porn movie -- no images shown, but the sound is turned up high. A porn star doesn't think twice about discussing certain sex acts in a teen's presence. Quick clip of a porn movie shows a couple having sex, seen from the side. Teens make out with much older characters.

Language

Frequent strong swearing, including "f--k," "s--t," "son of a bitch," "a--hole," and "d--k."

Consumerism

A few products/brand names spotted include Mercedes Benz, Orange Crush, and Tower Records. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Loads of boozing and smoking (both cigarettes and pot), sometimes in a child's presence. A main character has a drinking problem and drives drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Nice Guys is a '70s-set action movie/buddy comedy starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. It taps into all that was racy/iffy about that time period, including the rise of the porn industry in Los Angeles, the generally somewhat-lax approach to parenting (i.e. drinking/smoking in front of your kids), and more. Teen girls are shown flirting or making out with men twice and three times their age, drinking in the presence of adults, and discussing sex acts openly with adults. Women walk around topless; you also see bare bottoms and lots of skimpy outfits. When characters watch a porn movie, the volume is turned up high; characters having sex in a porn film are shown from the side. The film is also laced with profanity (including "f--k," "s--t," and more) and drug use (mostly weed, and by adults) and has a lot of realistic, sometimes-graphic violence (shooting, killing, fighting, a character falling to his death with a giant splat, children in peril).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byJim Macen101 May 26, 2016

The Nice Guys is a fantastic time for 15 and up, little blood and boobs.

Common Sense Media is yet again overreacting. The violence is frequent but very rarely gory. The film does revolve around the 70's porn industry but ver... Continue reading
Adult Written bySam Marrick May 21, 2016

They dont make Movies like this anymore.

I loved it! The snappy dialog, pitch perfect performances and chemeistry from the 2 leads (who knew Gosling and Crowe could be so hilarious XD?). The young girl... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old June 5, 2016

Entertaining and very funny action comedy is very mature and fun but gets gory.

This sexy, mature, and very violent comedy tale starts off with the booze drinker, weed smoker man named Holland March. After his wife is killed in a fire, his... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byoriginofanna July 10, 2016

The Nice Guys is a hit

This movie is very action-packed and filled with dirty humour, but that's what makes it so much fun to watch. The actors were good and the storyline and wr... Continue reading

What's the story?

No one would award private investigator Holland March (Ryan Gosling) a Father of the Year award anytime soon: He's a booze hound who's relied too much on his smart, resourceful daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice), since his wife died in a fire; he hasn't been the same since. He tends to take retainers from the elderly for cases he doesn't really work on much, but when a retiree insists that she's seen her reportedly dead porn star niece alive and well, March finds himself neck-deep in a hunt for another young woman, the runaway daughter of a city official (Kim Basinger). The girl has hired her own unofficial gumshoe, the envelope-pushing hothead Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe), to get March off her trail. But March isn't the only one tailing the daughter; a few gun-toting men are, too. In due time, Healy and March team up to figure out what exactly is going on.

Is it any good?

THE NICE GUYS is full of vim and vinegar in the best way, channeling a 1970s L.A. vibe that's been bungled by many other filmmakers but is channeled to great effect here. The result is a buddy comedy that's fresh and fun, if flawed. On the plus side, Gosling and Crowe share such a great chemistry that they should bottle it and sell it to other buddy-comedy franchises. And Rice is a revelation as Gosling's daughter Holly, going toe to toe with the two stars. The pacing is rollicking, the look and feel a perfect breezy-raunchy 1970s. The film taps into nostalgia but feels thoroughly modern in its spirit.

That said, take this film too seriously, and you're bound to be disappointed by how it wraps up, because the plot that drives this vehicle has more holes than Swiss cheese. Of course, that may be the point, as it tweaks its genre, questioning the need for large, ponderous reasons for bad behavior. Good, old-fashioned human blinders and a misplacement of what you might call "core beliefs" may just be enough. (We can't say much more without giving the plot away.) Sometimes, even the baddest of the bunch may have lofty intentions that amount to simple delusion or ignorance. But isn't that how humans sometimes justify their smallest -- and biggest -- decisions?

Talk to your kids about ...

Movie details

For kids who love comedy and thrillers

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate