VUE REVIEWS: The Nice Guys

This 70s-set crime caper pairs the unlikeliest of duos together for laughs aplenty.

by Chris Edwards, reviewing from Vue Westfield London
Director Shane Black is undoubtedly the master of action comedy duos. First Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, then Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and now Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe in The Nice Guys. With his latest pairing, there's potential for real mileage, as Black's vision of 1970s Los Angeles – where the prominent themes are cars, corruption and pornography – provides ample opportunity for them to be utterly hilarious. And they never fail.

Gosling is Holland March, a pathetic private eye, and Crowe is Jackson Healy, an out-of-luck fist for hire. The unlikely duo is brought together when a girl named Amelia mysteriously disappears. Naturally, their investigation leads to something far darker, as everyone around them starts getting murdered.
The Nice Guys
It's the clueless nature in which they tackle the case that provides the film's heartiest laughs. In one of the best scenes, March drunkenly tumbles down the side of a hill and lands beside a rotting corpse. Instead of predictably hamming his reaction, Gosling pulls off a brilliant silent scream, like when Shaggy sees a ghost. It's these hilarious physical comedy moments in The Nice Guys that really sets it apart from the likes of Bad Boys and The Other Guys. And with Crowe perfectly maintaining the balance as the straight man, there's every reason to consider them the best action comedy partnership in current cinema.

But Black’s considered characterisation doesn’t stop with his protagonists. March’s intelligent 13-year-old daughter (Angourie Rice) plays an equally important role, propping up her fool of a father and often solving clues quicker than the male leads. Perhaps the biggest star of the show, however, is the 70s. From the cars to Earth, Wind and Fire lookalikes at porn star parties, the era is given just as much attention as the characters.
The Nice Guys
It throws you right into Starsky and Hutch’s world and then adds some cynical smut. This is a time where even the nice guys like March and Holland occasionally had to be unscrupulous. After promising an old lady they’ll find the people who killed her niece, March adds, “for a deeply discounted rate”. It’s a miserable and confusing world in which they operate, one that makes for a rather cluttered finale, but I’d gladly revisit.

You’ll love this film if you like seeing Ryan Gosling in pain.

See this film with a fan of the classic action comedy films.

Meet with friends before the film at Tapas Revolution, situated just below the cinema. It has a great selection of Spanish foods and wines.

After a film like this, a burger seems like a fitting meal. Head down to Byron.

To keep the 70s vibe going, visit the FM Karaoke and Disco Club.