Dir: Shane Black, (2016)
This quick-fire 70s set buddy cop film from one of the lynch pins of the genre is a swift slapstick detective story tinged with a teeny bit of sadness; A doubly nostalgic partner in crime flick which hinges on the chemistry of its chalk and cheese leads. Ryan Gosling‘s drunky single father Holland March and Russell Crowe‘s brash and portly Jackson Healy are private eyes thrown together to find a missing girl and unravel the death of a porn actress named Misty Mountains. Writer/director Shane Black throws his wild playful dialogue around with serious skill; Nodding like a mad man at everything tinsel town.
After the showy and subversive Kiss Kiss Bang Bang the writer has found a rambling self-aware groove which may excite fans of 80s action films but may turn some casual film goers off. The Nice Guys deftly rides a line somewhere between an Apatow stoner comedy and Paul Thomas Anderson‘s beautiful and brilliant Inherent Vice. Gosling and Crowe work exceptionally well together creating likeable and damaged joke machines while Black finds room for March’s smart young daughter (Angourie Rice) to show up the old self obsessed men.
Family and crime go savagely together in almost all of Black’s work; Think The Last Boy Scout, Lethal Weapon, The Long Kiss Goodnight but here it works better and sweeter than it has done before. Gosling puts in one of his most goofy performances yet (it’s when he’s at his very best) as a bad dad trying to make good. Twists turns, parties, smog, gun play, violence and a talking bumble bee all make The Nice Guys an incredibly fun and swift couple of hours; Some jokes land safely, some spatter on the pavement and some are left hanging in the air; Anxious, abrasive and awkward but a real good time.