The Nice Guys


Hysterical and razor-sharp buddy comedy with Ryan Gosling Discuss this article

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With dynamite timing and outrageous threads, Ryan Gosling is a blast in this action-comedy from genre veteran Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3). Sharply crafted but still laid back – and hilarious from the off – Black’s buddy-buddy throwback is a committed reworking of the formula he all-but invented with his career-defining, genre-birthing script for Lethal Weapon back in the bullet-peppered ’80s.

Gosling is Holland March, a clumsy, dim-bulb private eye in 1977 Los Angeles. Following a series of unfortunate events he finds himself paired up with ultra-serious tough guy Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe, beefy and effectively flabby over the muscle mass), who rakes in hard cash by beating up his clients’ enemies. What could possibly go wrong?

The backdrop is a gritty-to-the-touch Tinseltown, drowning in orange smog and overrun with golden-age sleazebags – think Chinatown noir blended with Boogie Nights and you’re in the ballpark. When the murder of a girl sets March and Healy on the trail of her missing colleague Amelia, the duo enter a sprawling maze of shady power structures and dead stakeholders. Along the way they receive a considerable amount of help from March’s force of nature 12-year-old daughter Holly (a quite brilliant Angourie Rice), who has far better investigative instincts than her panicky old man.

Essentially Inherent Vice minus the highbrow fanciness, this is a period police procedural packed with fantastic detail (posters for Jaws 2 dot the background) and typically smart Shane Black gracenotes. A man whose screenwriting has always elevated macho wisecracking into a form of glorious movie poetry, he’s in his element here, simultaneously paying tribute to and subverting the tough guy personas of Crowe and Gosling to hilarious effect.

Throw in a gorgeously OTT finale, memorable roles for Yaya DaCosta and Kim Basinger and a juicy disco-funk soundtrack (think Earth, Wind & Fire and Kool & the Gang), and this is the perfect antidote to cinema’s current infatuation with black and white heroes and dreary CG backdrops. The Nice Guys takes you back to the ’70s glory days.

The bottom line Hysterical and razor-sharp buddy comedy.

By Tomris Laffly
Time Out Doha,

The Nice Guys

  • Duration: 116
  • Released: Thu, 26 May
  • Classification: PG15
  • Language: English
  • Director: Shane Black
  • Stars: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice

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