“The Nice Guys” takes place in 1970s Los Angeles, when down-on-his-luck private eye Holland March (Gosling) and hired enforcer Jackson Healy (Crowe) must
work together to solve the case of a missing girl and the seemingly unrelated death of a porn star. During their investigation, they uncover a shocking
conspiracy that reaches up to the highest circles of power.
Shane Black keeps his solid directorial efforts going, following Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3, with The Nice Guys.
An indecently enjoyable and frequently hilarious film with a fantastic soundtrack, it finds Black on firm if familiar ground. Basically it's Kiss Kiss Bang
Bang in 70s clothing, a mismatched buddy comedy in an LA detective noir setting, but is no less enjoyable for that.
Much of the pleasure of course comes from Black's knack for writing quotable dialogue, but Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe's double act is where the real
fun lies. Gosling in particular relishing the chance to be the incompetent and clumsy stooge to Crowe's violent (mostly) straight man.
Gosling doesn't do comedy enough but he should as there's a natural clown hiding behind the annoying good looks. Aussie actress Angourie Rice is also
excellent as Gosling's daughter, Matt Bomer is an effectively unpleasant killer, while Kim Basinger, along with Crowe, ensures that thoughts of LA
Confidential are never too far away.
Admittedly the central mystery involving porn stars and the automotive industry never quite resolves satisfactorily, but it is just a convenient hook to
hang the enjoyable Gosling/Crowe double act on.
The ending points to a potential sequel, which on the evidence of this will be very welcome indeed.