In the new movie, “The Nice Guys,” Ryan Gosling plays Holland March, a widowed, alcoholic private investigator, or PI. He is also a single dad to Holly March, a crafty, pre-teen girl. His parenting is limited to correcting her grammar, and telling her to go to a friend’s house when he leaves the house at night. March meets Jackson Healy, (Russell Crowe), a guy who beats people up for money, and they partner up on a case.
March and Healy go to a porn-industry party to look for clues. Healy drives; March is consistently drunk or drinking. They arrive at the party and discover Holly, hidden in the back of the car.
Holly: [At party] Dad, there are whores here n’stuff.
Holland March: Don’t say n’stuff. Just say, Dad, there are whores here.
March stuffs his daughter in the trunk. The valet hears Holly banging the roof of the trunk, looks at March, and tells him he cannot take his car like that.
March puts her in a taxi-cab.
Holly is brave, intelligent, and is trying to help her dad. He is the only parent she has left. When March put her in the cab, she managed to get back to the party. Asking around for clues, Holly talks to the wrong people. Someone puts her in a car with a creepy thug who had tried to kill Healy earlier in the movie. The creepy thug drives off with her. Healy and March drive after him, and slam into the back of the thug’s car.
The thug is laying on the asphalt, bleeding heavily. Holly sees Healy holding a gun to the thug’s head, and pleads with Healy not to shoot.
Healy assures Holly he will not kill the thug, but Healy smothers the bleeding kidnapper when Holly walks away.
It appears that Holly holds onto hope for bad and damaged people.
Holly knows about her father’s less-than-moral business practices. March explains to Healy how to squeeze more money out of clients, in front of his daughter. March does PI work for rich elderly women, who are looking for missing loved ones. The first case we see March take, he is in an elderly women’s living room, and she asks him to find her husband. March sees the husband’s urn on her fireplace mantel. She is clearly not in her right mind. He takes the case, and her money.
Widow: It’s my husband, he’s gone missing.
Holland March: Missing?
Widow: I’m terribly worried. It’s just, Fred’s never been gone this long before.
March: How long has he been missing?
Widow: Since the funeral
Holly is waiting outside with the car, and she drives him back home.
March asks Holly if he is a bad person. She says yes.