The Nice Guys

Rated 4.0

A thug for hire (Russell Crowe) breaks the arm of a private eye (Ryan Gosling) to discourage him from finding the thug’s young-woman-on-the-run client—then decides she needs help after all, and convinces the gumshoe to team up to find and protect her. Director Shane Black and his co-writer Anthony Bagarozzi produce a highly enjoyable companion piece to Black’s equally enjoyable but sadly ignored Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), another trigger-happy comedy about two mismatched detectives unraveling a hilariously complicated mystery. Crowe and Gosling make a good bottom-feeding team (Gosling especially shows a surprising flair for physical comedy), and setting the movie in smoggy 1970s LA evokes nostalgic memories of TV’s The Rockford Files. Newcomer Angourie Rice shines as Gosling’s precocious daughter. J.L.