The Nice Guys: the buddy movie, the surprising recipe!

The Nice Guys: the buddy movie, the surprising recipe!

Since the 80s, despite some slack, the buddy movie still has its followers. From Lethal Weapon to The Nice Guys, which is presented at Cannes and released in theaters this Sunday, a look back at an almost infallible recipe that still pleases.

The Nice Guys (2016)

1. The Nice Guys (2016)
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© EuropaCorp Distribution

Sunday May 15, The Nice Guys, Shane Black’s new movie, is presented Out of Competition on the Croisette. Shane Black to whom we already owed the very good Kiss kiss, bang bangwhich therefore signs its return to buddy movie. 11 years later Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, the director features Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe in the role of “buddies”: a cast that promises fun, lots of fun. It gives a film halfway between the big brother, Kiss kiss, bang bang and the spiritual father, The lethal Weapon. A buddy movie talkative who takes up all the ingredients of a successful friends’ film.

And a good opportunity to ask where is the buddy movie and why, nearly 30 years after Lethal Weapon, the genre’s flagship, mayonnaise still works?

What is a buddy movie?

The kind of buddy movieit is first of all two essential elements:
1) A duo (of choc)
2) A duo made up of two characters of the same sex – often men – diametrically opposed personalities.
Together, they will take part in an adventure or fight against a villain, and this experience will test their friendship or bring them closer if they hate each other at the base. Most of the time, for the duo to work, the production relies on actors whose chemistry is tangible and most often on stars whose on-screen reunion has potential.

In France too, we are buddies

Even though Americans are the kings of buddy movie, the genre has crossed the Atlantic many times. In particular, there are a whole bunch of buddy movies. We think of La Grande Vadrouille (Louis de Funès & Bourvil), Les Compères (Pierre Richard & Gérard Depardieu), Operation Corned Beef (Christian Clavier & Jean Reno), Les Ripoux (Philippe Noiret & Thierry Lhermitte), saga Taxi (Samy Naceri & Frédéric Diefenthal), then to films with well-established comic duos such as Eric and Ramzy or Kad and Olivier.

A kind of “chewing gum”…

the buddy movie, it is an extremely flexible genre. You can find buddy movies everywhere – including in the dramatic register -, as long as they include a slightly dysfunctional duet. Also, films like Rabid Dog, In the Heat of the Night, or more recently Training Day, End of Watch or Django Unchained, are also considered as buddy movies. However, most of the time, the casual term of “buddies” (literally “friends”) refers to comedy. Quite often, the pair are so mismatched that the film relies on the humor that stems from the clash between the two.

…which has always existed!

This dynamic of opposites attracting each other has always existed in literature and cinema, even if, at its beginnings, the buddy movie didn’t have a name. As early as the 1930s, we observe an outline of the genre in the comic duos formed by Laurel & Hardy, Bing Crosby & Bob Hope. In the 1960s, Some Like It Hot was also an example. At the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, the duets began to diversify and many films associated a white actor and a black actor. This is the case of Transamerica Express, where Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor have been performing since 1976.

The buddy cop movie, the real trend

The kind of buddy movie established itself permanently in the 80s. It was the boom of the fun action film, stuffed with muscular camaraderie and heroism tinged with humor, which was then often expressed in a very particular setting: that of the police. . A subgenus very popular in the United States called the buddy cop movie. Partners who can’t feel each other? That the leader stuck together out of sheer perversity? A mad dog decked out with a plan-plan family man? It’s a system that has worked for a long time in American fiction and which will experience a mad effervescence in the 80s and 90s.

Golden age

Eddie Murphy & Nick Nolte gave birth to the first big success with 48 hours (1982), then came the inevitable Lethal weapon (1987), carried by the duo Mel Gibson & Danny Glover, whom many consider to be THE buddy movie par excellence, the one who really invented the magic formula, the perfect dynamic. Above all, it is the film that inspired all the others thereafter. The “offspring” then seeks to associate all kinds of different personalities/physical/origins… Sometimes even a man and a dog, as in Turner & Hooch.

During the golden age of buddy movie, the Lethal Weapon effect will give rise to the greatest franchises of the genre, which in turn will become classics. In the lead, the Men in Black, the Rush Hour and, further down the rankings, the Bad Boys saga. Die Hard will also embrace the genre with A Day in Hell, which reunites Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson.

The 10 Best Buddy Movies at the U.S. Box Office

We know the recipe a little too well, don’t we?

Over the years, this detective recipe has been so tested, mixed, badly dosed and proven that the genre has become cliché and parodiable at will (Fatal Alarm, Last Action Hero…). of a buddy movie at the other, we are sure to find the same ingredients and the same situations. Bet when the film duo meet for the first time, it won’t go super well. Also plan an arrest that goes wrong, an interrogation scene in good cop/bad cop mode, explosions, a crazy chase, an argument over food…

You can also bet on a headache around a pretty woman, sometimes the wife of one of the two buddies. Without forgetting, of course, the good old shouting match with the hierarchy (doubled with an ultimatum issued by the chief). Also be sure that they will meet another pair of buddies that they hate and with whom they will send jokes. And in the end, one will be hurt, the other will save him and they will tell each other how much, in fact, they love each other…

Mad TV parodied the genre in this video where seven of the greatest buddies meet up :

The year 2000, the buddy cop bug

In the 2000s, apart from the sequels to successful films, few buddy cop movies stand out. Attempts follow one another, but the quality and success are not always there, like Showtime (which nevertheless brought together two stars: Robert De Niro & Eddie Murphy), Hollywood Homicide (where Harrison Ford rubbed shoulders with the young first Josh Hartnett) or National Security with Martin Lawrence, one of the pros of the genre with Chris Tucker. And yet, during this not-so-foolish decade, Shanghai Kid and unexpected little nuggets like Kiss kiss, bang bang or Hot Fuzz came out all the same, which allowed the genre to breathe much fresher air – that of England!

The 2010s: revenge?

Although the golden era of buddy cop movie seemed a little past, the 2010s managed, in just a few films, to seduce the public again by adding a few twists to a well-ventilated recipe. 21 Jump Street and its sequel, worn by the improbable duo Channing Tatum & Jonah Hill, were a hit. We don’t forget either the pretty formula proposed by Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes led by Robert Downey Jr. & Jude Law), nor the crazy Mise à l’essai (with Kevin Hart & Ice Cube), Very Bad Cops ( with Will Ferrell & Mark Wahlberg), Cops and other Green Hornets. We can also cite among the recent successes Les Flingeuses (with Sandra Bullock & Melissa McCarthy), which finally feminizes – and brilliantly – the buddy cop movie.

If it manages to renew itself cyclically, the buddy cop movie still has a bright future ahead of it, even if it crosses borders less easily than at the time of Lethal Weapon and Bad Boys. As to buddy movie in a broader sense, it is doing quite well and has been tending, for a few years now, towards romantic comedy-style bromance, like Crazy, Stupid, Love, Date Limite, I Love You Man or Ted.

So guys: “Too old for this shit?” Not quite yet…

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