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Arts and Entertainment Tuesday, May 24, 2016 3 years ago

Film review: 'The Nice Guys'

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A witty script and perfect chemistry make for the perfect buddy action flick.

A witty script and perfect chemistry between two great actors elevate "The Nice Guys" to sheer pleasure. This buddy action film is directed by Shane Black, who knows a little bit about the genre, having written "Lethal Weapon" way back in 1987. And he hasn't lost his gift for iconic comic timing over the years.

It's 1977 Los Angeles, and a car has come crashing down into a Hollywood Hills neighborhood in the opening scene. Its occupant is Misty Mountains, missing porn star, now deceased. But Misty's aunt insists she's still alive and hires Holland March, P.I. (Ryan Gosling) to find her. Meanwhile, Jackson Healy (Russell Crow) has been hired to beat up March by another shady lady named Amelia (Margaret Qualley). Seems she, too, has gone missing.

After Healy beats up March, the two incompetent P.I.s decide to team up and solve the mystery at hand with help from March's 13-year-old daughter, Holly (scene-stealer, Angourie Rice). The three trade killer quips, get caught up in numerous murders and market their own brand of mayhem. When all is said and done, the whole caper points to Detroit — specifically the auto industry.

Yeah, go figure.

The attention to detail in "The Nice Guys," is as impressive as the camerawork. A slick score, utilizing blasts from the past, helps electrify the nonstop action playing out on screen. Nixon jokes, smog alerts, long gas lines and vintage billboards firmly plant us back in the day.

But it's Crowe and Gosling's rollicking rapport as bumbling, inept klutzes that pushes this hilarious film to brilliant burlesque. Gosling delivers some of the best, incredibly stupid lines with such smug assurance, you can't help laughing out loud. The best one is after a cop says, "I'm just carrying out orders." And March replies, "Yeah, well you know who else was just following orders? Hitler!"

It's so much fun watching two very cool actors dude-down so effectively in "The Nice Guys." And the irony of the title is never lost on the audience due to two amazing performances.

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