Done right, the two-guys-and-a-gal buddy-movie combo is hard to beat. It worked superbly in the 1950s-set L.A. Confidential, where a nurturing Veronica Lake-lookalike prostitute (Kim Basinger) was sandwiched between Bud White’s (Russell Crowe) brawn and Ed Exley’s (Guy Pearce) brains.
That archetypal Moon-Mars-Mercury triad has somehow begotten The Nice Guys.
The movie, co-written and directed by Shane Black, is set a couple of decades later in Los Angeles, and also streamlines the archetypal focus.
There’s Jackson Healy (Crowe), a portly private eye who’s no stranger to brass knuckles: clients hire him to beat people up. The other detective is Holland March (Ryan Gosling), a boozy widower who’s guilt-ridden over the death of his wife. Both men would likely score below average on a scale of self-awareness and integrity.
The duo’s dimwittedness knocks out the Mercurial component, targeting, instead, Martian competition, violence, deadly force, car crashes, and action both jarring and, given March’s proclivity for falling off precipices, comical.
The humanizing and Lunar Feminine balancing force here is March’s young teenaged daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice), wise beyond her years and, in contrast with both men, protective of life.
In the mix are other females – a murdered porn star; a young adult, Amelia (Margaret Qualley), superficially part of that same sordid world; and Amelia’s mother (Basinger), a possible pawn in a corrupt political game that devalues women and environmental sustenance.
Unusual interest tied to Amelia’s alternating presence and absence provokes Healy and March to work together to connect several criminal incidents. It’s as though both men, out of touch with the Feminine, get on a trajectory whose destination is a new appreciation of their better interior halves.
Astrology Archetype: ☽ ♂ (Moon, Mars)