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The Nice Guys

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A dead actress. Pornography. A missing woman. An elaborate conspiracy. A hired thug with lapsed morals. Air pollution. A boozy PI, with a precocious daughter. These are the generic elements, plus a few others, that Shane Black weaves together in his 70’s neo-noir that will strike chords with fans of Chinatown and L.A. Confidential as well as Black’s earlier work as writer – Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout – and director – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3. The eponymous charming fellows, Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and Holland March (Ryan Gosling) are a generically typical chalk and cheese pair. Healy is a cynical brute who sometimes wonders what happened to his conscience; March is a cowardly moron who cares as much for the bottle as his teenage daughter Holly (Angourie Rice), who is probably smarter than either of them. As a buddy comedy, The Nice Guys hits the right notes as Crowe and Gosling deliver an effective double act, especially in some hilarious moments of slapstick comedy. The convoluted plot and casual violence is almost perfunctory, as the film’s interest is in the generic features and film history that it plays with, as well as Black’s typically razor sharp dialogue. The Nice Guys may not be the most memorable fellas to spend time with, but they pass the time amusingly enough.

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