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A good time to reappraise these ‘nice’ guys

The Nice Guys: Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe aren't that nice’

The Nice Guys
The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys (15)
Running time 1hr 56min
Rating ****

Don’t let the title trick you – Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe star in The Nice Guys – ‘they’re not that nice’ warns the tagline of Shane Black’s 2016 comedy detective thriller, available now on Amazon Film. Review by CAMERON BLACKSHAW

OOZING with style and charisma, Shane Black’s The Nice Guys is a modern comedy detective thriller that perfectly captures the coolness of 70s Los Angeles in all its parts.

Starring Ryan Gosling as an alcoholic and bumbling private eye who teams up with a tough, no-nonsense enforcer played by Russell Crowe to investigate the death of a prominent porn star and the disappearance of a young girl, the violent and silly shenanigans the pair get up to will leave everyone chuckling.

Neither Gosling nor Crowe are known for their comedic acting chops, but both of them, and in particular Gosling, are able to handle the hilarity of the script with ease. Both excelling with their delivery and physicality, it’s a pair I wish I could see work together in more films.

The film is chockfull of memorable quips from both characters, among others, and they never come across as contrived or forced. The investigation plot begins with the seedy 70s underworld of pornography and crime, a world that soon becomes intersected with American big businesses and the Justice Department. As the investigation moves away from sexual scandals to public corruption, the plot loses its way a bit. The situations are still funny, but the final solution doesn’t quite live up to the film noir finale expectations set up by the film’s detective story influences.

But aside from that, the film works as an excellent tongue-in-cheek comedy. Watching Gosling’s character’s relationship with his teenage daughter (Angourie Rice) is one of the film’s highlights, and is an aspect that makes the sometimes-bizarre adventure feel far more grounded and human. The action is also well thought out and shot. It can be bloody and violent, but it never becomes horrific or gratuitous. From all the props, sets, costumes and songs, the film is an affectionate
recreation of a hedonistic bygone era. Featuring a cameo from Earth, Wind and Fire, the colourful suits and
outrageous patterns of the 70s are everywhere to be seen in the film. It’s a pretty successful period film in that regard.

Some may remember Shane Black’s previous noir-comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) starring Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer and if you were a fan of that, The Nice Guys is certainly for you. Its witty adult humour, with a splash of violence and crime, really goes down well.

Don’t let the title trick you – I have to quote the film’s tagline by saying “they’re not that nice”.

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