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Movie Review: The Nice Guys *Spoiler free*

The Nice Guys movie from writer/director Shane Black is a laugh out loud, comedy, crime, action drama that showcases its two leads, Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling not exactly against type but perhaps a little left of centre from what you might expect of them.

Both play private detectives who are initially working opposite sides of the same case (kind of) but eventually come together as things become more complex.


Jackson Healy (Crowe) is more of a stand over man initially, hired to warn Holland March (Gosling) against pursuing his current line of inquiry, seeking out a girl who may have seen a dead porn star, still alive, two days after her murder.

Holland is something of a drunken private eye who knows all the tricks for separating clients from their money without necessarily doing the work. The only thing stopping him from completely falling off the wagon is his 13 year old daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice).

Set in the late 1970's you would expect this film to make the most of this largely politically incorrect era, and it does, but not specifically making a point of doing so. It really focuses on characters and story more so than the era and style.

I went along to see this film on the strength of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling's reputation as actors. To me it sounded like a genius idea to bring these two together with plenty of potential for something interesting to happen. I wasn't disappointed.

Russell generally plays the straight guy to Ryan who gets more of the comedic opportunities and really nails them. I'd put this as one of his best performances. Much of it works so well because it's often contrasted with Russell's no nonsense and intense sensibility. However Russell still gets to be funny too.

I didn't expect Angourie Rice's character, Holly, to play such a big part in the film. Far from being something of an inconvenience for Holland she does her best to really involve herself in her father's business, even showing that she's learnt a thing or two about how to handle a desperate situation. It's kind of disappointing that the character is in an adult film and won't be experienced by anyone in the characters age range.

The Nice Guys is something of a return for Shane Black to the style of his earlier 2005 film, Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang. If you enjoyed that then you'll almost certainly like this. I would even suggest that Nice Guys is a better film in terms of its humour. Certainly I laughed out loud more in this film.

Honestly, as much as I like big budget superhero movies (of which Shane Black directed and co-wrote the screenplay for Iron Man III), I really miss this kind of buddy cop movie, that's all about story and character and less about impressive CGI.

There's still plenty of spectacle and action but it's more traditional gun fights, car chases and practical stunt work that used to be more common place through the eighties and nineties big budget movies.

You don't need to see The Nice Guys in a cinema but if you get a chance to I'd highly recommend it. I don't think you'll be disappointed. It's a fun two hours with great characters and a story that isn't entirely predictable and by the numbers. There's always something going on and you'll be suitably entertained.

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