The Nice Guys

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The Nice Guys

As a writer-director, Shane Black doesn’t have a whole lot of tricks up his sleeve, but he puts them all to very fun use in this buddy comedy-thriller where the snappy dialogue hits harder than the double-figure body count.

It’s the late ’70s in a very smoggy LA, and both dim-bulb PI Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and professional muscle Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) are trying to find a dead porn star who’s supposedly somehow still alive – unlike her co-stars, who seem to be dying all over town. The mystery (it involves a missing film and the auto industry) isn’t the point; the banter between the two leads – and March’s wise-acre 13 year-old daughter Holly (Australia’s own Angourie Rice) – is.

Both Gosling and Crowe are at maximum charm here (Gosling is the goofy one), while Rice provides some much-needed heart. And while this feels slightly more sloppy and disposable than Black’s last solo outing Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it does do a very good job of reminding you that Black has basically owned the violent buddy cop genre since he wrote the first Lethal Weapon. If you have the slightest interest in crime dramas, private eye stories or laughing, this is a whole big bag of fun.

Reviewed by Anthony Morris