MOVIE REVIEW: The Nice Guys hits all the right notes
MAKING a buddy cop film in the modern era is a tough tight rope to walk.
It's a genre that has dominated the action movie scene in the past and recent homages have only further defined the formula that we as an audience have come to expect.
It's hard to imagine many people with more affection for the genre than Shane Black, a man who helped define it with his 1987 script Lethal Weapon.
Now the veteran screenwriter takes to the director's chair for just the third time in his career for the appropriately nostalgic The Nice Guys.
Set against the energetic, debaucherous background of 1970s Los Angeles, our "nice guys" are for-hire enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and private investigator Holland March (Ryan Gosling).
Initially brought together on a missing person case, the unlikely duo begins to uncover a conspiracy involving the porn industry, high-ranking government officials and the Detroit auto industry (you know, '70s things).
As you'd expect, this isn't a movie that aims to redefine the tropes of a typical buddy cop story, but rather execute them with enough talent and self-awareness to remind us why they were successful in the first place.
The uncompromising stampede of gory violence and glorious sight gags takes us to such an exciting place that it's impossible to be bored watching this narrative rooted in classic, crime-solving cinema.
For sure the most appealing aspect of The Nice Guys the chemistry between the two leads.
Crowe and Gosling take ultimately despicable characters and make them incredibly engaging and likeable, leaving the audience with an undeniable feeling of joy throughout the entire movie.
This joy is the key to The Nice Guys. It could have easily been a clichéd ghost of the classics that inspired it and while there are moments that fall into familiar territory, I was having way too much fun to really notice.
The Nice Guys opens nationally today.
The Nice Guys
Stars: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Matt Bomer, Kim Basinger.
Director: Shane Black
Rating: MA 15+
Verdict: 4/5 stars