After the superhero excess of Iron Man 3 writer/director Shane Black returns to more familiar terrain, teaming with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe for a noir mystery set in 1970s Los Angeles. His brief detour to blockbusters notwithstanding, The Nice Guys comfortably follows the Black template with sharp dialogue and excellent action set pieces. It’s also the funniest thing he’s ever written. His stars are brilliant together, Crowe the straight man to Gosling’s hilarious mess of slapstick and emotion, while Angourie Rice is a scene stealer as Gosling’s precocious daughter. It’s unlikely to win over new audiences, but for Black fans this is close to perfection.

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4-stars

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