REVIEW: Likeable retro thrills with the Nice Guys

Ryan Gosling as Holland March and Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy
Ryan Gosling as Holland March and Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy

Matt Adcock reviews The Nice Guys (15), starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe

Meet The Nice Guys, a couple of private detectives who are not afraid to take the law into their own hands.

Licensed PI Holland March (Ryan ‘Drive’ Gosling) is a single father investigating the mysterious death of famous adult film actress ‘Misty Mountains’ (Murielle ‘The Duff’ Telio) in 1977 Los Angeles. He is forced to team up with Jackson Healey (Russell ‘Gladiator’ Crowe) – an old school tough guy who hurts people for money – when it becomes apparent that they are both involved in the same case, and both in danger.

Together they and Holland’s wise-beyond-her-years daughter Holly (teenage rising star Angourie Rice) follow the trail of a Misty look alike named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) who has vanished.

Before you can say ‘this is going to end in tears’ there are bodies piling up, because it turns out, the mob also looking for Amelia and an experimental film she shot called How Do You Like My Car, Big Boy?

Cue a winning mix of slapstick violence, laugh out loud comedy and memorable dialogue as the Nice Guys realise they might be in over their heads. Director Shane ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ Black brings out the best of his AAA lead stars, who have excellent buddy chemistry as they tackle deranged goons, unstoppable hit men and a possible high reaching government conspiracy.

The Nice Guys is a filthy, funny and exciting detective-em-up that makes for hugely entertaining cinema viewing. The crackling dialogue and banter between Crowe and Gosling is just delicious to behold and young Rice is a marvel, holding her own and indeed stealing many scenes, she’s certainly a talent to keep an eye on.

The 70s setting is a retro blast with the coolest cars of the decade, the wild hedonistic Hollywood parties of LA – complete with mermaids and copious drugs.

This isn’t a film for prudes or those averse to cuss words as the seedy underbelly of tinsel town is writ large. The crunching violence and heavy duty gunplay makes this more Lethal Weapon than Sherlock when it comes to crime-solving double acts.

By the time the end credits roll it is sad to say farewell to these likeable Nice Guys and I’m already hoping we’ll see them in action again before too long.