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By Megan Bianco
The curse of the R-rated action film strikes again. Screenwriter Shane Black’s third feature as a director after the divisive Iron Man 3 (2013) and the cult classic Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005) is the retro, action-filled comedy The Nice Guys. Black knows his action sequences, his buddy cops and his easy going atmosphere, as seen most famously with the Lethal Weapon movies. But despite his record and big name cast unfortunately, his new movie barely made it to No. 4 at the box office.
In 1977, L.A. independent private investigator Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is hired by elderly Mrs. Glenn (Lois Smith) to find her niece who is missing. At the same time, Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe) gets paid to beat up people who are causing problems, and his most recent client is Amelia Kuttner (Margaret Qualley). Coincidently, Amelia hired Jackson to get rid of Holland, who she thinks is following her. As Jackson and Holland meet, Amelia goes missing, people start dying and a porno is linked to everything.
Kim Basinger and Matt Bomer co-star, and Angourie Rice plays Gosling’s precocious daughter. The Nice Guys is more Chinatown (1974) and L.A. Confidential (1997) than it is Lethal Weapon, making Crowe’s and Basinger’s casting more appropriate. Though the setting is the ’70s and it is comedic, the noir homage is undeniable. Gosling and Crowe are an unexpected, great pairing with fresh dialogue, though Rice’s adolescent sidekick borders between irritating and endearing. All the same, Black’s film is still worth the ticket.