Writer of Lethal Weapon, Shane Black returns to the genre he redefined, this time around writing and directing The Nice Guys, a buddy comedy set in 70s Los Angeles.
Ryan Gosling plays Holland March, a drunken, bumbling, second-rate private detective and single father, who’s struggling to bring up daughter Holly (a very promising Angourie Rice). Gosling showcases pitch-perfect comedic timing, with his slapstick, physical moments bringing the majority of the belly laughs. Russell Crowe provides a masterclass in subtle humour as Jackson Healy, a straight-faced and effective enforcer.
The pair clash when March, who’s investigating the suspicious death of adult film star Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio) tries to reach possible lead Amelia (Margaret Qualley), the very same girl who Healy has been paid to protect. The unlikely duo then reluctantly team up (along with the brains of the operation March’s daughter Holly) once they uncover more truths about a certain adult movie.
On par with Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and far more compact than Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys is at its best when the surprisingly superb comedy duo Gosling and Crowe are centre stage, their fantastic chemistry drives the film and allows a few stray, flat jokes to be easily forgotten.
Organically setting up a potential sequel, The Nice Guys does leave you wanting more of the unorthodox duo.