The Nice Guys ****

Running time 115 mins Cert: 15

Synopsis: In 1970’s Los Angeles, Washed-up private eye Holland March (Gosling) and hired enforcer Jackson Healy (Crowe) must team up to investigate the case of a missing girl (Margaret Qualley) and the connected death of a porn star.

After showing that he can handle big action blockbusters with Iron Man 3, screenwriter and director Shane Black returns to a smaller but incredibly enjoyable action comedy.

Black has always had a way with pacing and clever dialogue, The Nice Guys is no exception in which audiences is given well balanced action with witty wisecracks. Not really surprising considering he is the genius behind Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Last Kiss Goodnight, The Last Boy Scout and even Lethal Weapon.

Black along with co-screenwriter  Anthony Bagarozzi provide classic noir aspects, channelling such classics as L.A. Confidential in particular the scene reuniting Crowe and Kim Basinger together. 

Neither Crowe or Gosling are particularly well known for their comedic chops. However both actors play off incredibly well towards each other as the  odd-couple protagonists.

While it is Crowe and Gosling’s platform, acknowledgment should also be given  to  Angourie Rice, who plays Gosling’s savvy teenage daughter. Rice holds her own with leading men.

If there is any flaws it is the MacGuffin that has been chosen, which is  interesting however this element never really flows particularly well within the confines of storyline. Also while the film is funny, there not as nearly as many comedic moments as the exceptional Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Fortunately, Black and his cast make it easy to get swept away in the wild ride that The Nice Guys offers its audience, and the enjoyment one gets from watching Crowe and Gosling bumble their way through a perfectly re-created 1970s LA far outweighs any storytelling issues in the film.

Flawed, but incredibly smart, the question is why Shane Black is not making more movies, when his current output is almost flawless. Hopefully his next foray into blockbuster country with The Predator will be equally good.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

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