An excerpt from my script review for The Nice Guys which will be available 05/23/16:
2.) Plot Stability
Let’s be honest. This is a Lethal Weapon reboot.
As I read, I could easily see Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, and Joe Pesci in the three “nice guy” roles.
It all felt too 1990s. Like “Jessica Spano long butt jeans” 1990s.
Achieving a certain level of success is to be commended, but there’s one flaw as writers we should be wary of (the one stalled M. Night’s career)…
Three examples that would be decent twists, if we weren’t already been familiar with Mr. Black’s previous work.
Drunk and tumbling down a hill, March is startled by someone, firing two shots by accident. It’s the missing party host’s body, but before being told we know the guy was already dead before March shot him.
Similar to the previous, March comments “I’ve seen this in movies” in regards to the door being open, and Lily Shoemaker sitting motionless in a chair, but we’ve seen SHANE BLACK movies and know it’s just a drawn out gag with her sleeping, not dead.
Third time’s a charm. Healy slams into Alice’s body while driving March’s Camaro, and another drawn out, supposed to be funny moment, IF ONLY we didn’t already KNOW Alice is going to sit right up after a lame exchange.
Unfortunately this is a difficult trap to avoid falling into. My one suggestion would be to turn twists on their heads. If one or two of your previous scripts have been read (or made into movies) lead your audience one way then take the twist in the OPPOSITE direction as previous stories.
Aside from the predictable, there were some of overly campy comedic situations cherry picked right out of the Bush Administration (H.W.).
Page 30 – Goofy bathroom scene where March struggles to shit, hold a gun on Healy, smoke, and pull his pants up. (Couldn’t Mr. Glover have used the work?)
Page 98 – March falls asleep while driving and has this elaborate dream about Healy wearing a gun on his ankle only for a minimal payoff later where March tries to pull the fake gun on Alice and it isn’t there, leading to a silly discussion between he and Healy about March dreaming it.
Page 136 – The ending, where Healy and March try to take down Shoemaker via Alice’s testimony, but it fails and they’re somehow at Shoemaker’s victory party in a California hotel where the main bad guy shoots Shoemaker in the head? March and Healy only shrug? Yeah…no cop’s going to pick them up as suspects…
And I’m sure others can find examples in between.
One thing I was impressed with was how things were connected.
Boy watching a puppet show rerun, only to have the star crash through his house as she’s committing suicide? Pretty cool, since ANYTHING could have been on the television.
March investigating a woman who hires Healy to protect her. Not only does this introduce the two initially as opposing forces, Healy later needs to join forces with March when it turns out he can’t find his client, and real bad guys are after her.
A porno at a party that Healy happens to catch a bit of. Later it turns out he recognizes the guy’s butt moles, leading he and March to realize the whole porno was faked.
Alice and Suzy Shoemaker being…twins?
This part was just STUPID.
Alice was Shoemaker’s real daughter, but she had heart problems, and because he needs a perfect child he just happened to find Suzy on the black market, who looks exactly like Alice mind you, allowing Shoemaker to ditch the zero and raise a hero?
It was just too farfetched, but March and Healy state it, and are never proved wrong.
Make them twins or something. Shoemaker’s still a dick for abandoning the weaker daughter, and it makes sense why they look so much alike.
Maybe this was an early draft and the connection only half baked, but I hope the film handled it better.
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