The Nice Guys

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Release date: 3rd June 2016/Watch the trailer here

Nowadays, it’s so rare for a film that’s marketed as an ‘action comedy’ to actually be funny – or, even more importantly, good – that it comes as a welcome surprise that The Nice Guys is one of the best – and undoubtedly funniest – films to come out of 2016 so far.

This is, in part, thanks to writer and director Shane Black’s sharp, witty screenplay. The film follows a pair of mismatched private eyes, Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and Holland March (Ryan Gosling). Set against the backdrop of 1970s Los Angeles, the two men become embroiled in the sprawling mystery surrounding a pornographic film, the death of its star, Misty Mountains, and a potential government conspiracy. Crowe and Gosling may seem like as much of an unusual pairing as the characters that they portray, but the unlikely decision to cast them as the leads in an all-out action comedy is one of sheer genius. They both excel, with top-notch comic timing and undeniable chemistry – but it is Gosling who provides the most uproarious laughs of the film.

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The Nice Guys puts a fresh spin on the buddy detective story that’s so familiar, with a feel of something wholly new and original, rather than a mere ’70s rehash: it channels the classics of the era, but never copies. One of the film’s brightest ideas is the inclusion of March’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice). Holly becomes one of The Nice Guys‘ key players, a smart-mouthed, kickass teen with a conscience, without whom the two detectives would undoubtedly be lost – and on the wrong side of criminal.

But the charm of The Nice Guys doesn’t lie solely in the fact that it’s genuinely, hilariously funny: the laughs and the ultra-violent shootouts are all balanced by the old-fashioned, noir-ish mystery that forms the heart of the plot. The conspiracy may feel a tad tangled at times, but the film is entertaining enough to gloss over any blunders in the narrative.

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The Nice Guys: it’s clever, it’s eccentric, it’s brash, it’s violent, it’s hilarious – and it’s brilliant.

★★★★

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