Monday, 6 June 2016


Giddy rambunctiousness fuels Shane Black's The Nice Guys, a frothy and foul step back in time that can't help but court one gross lapse in judgement after another. It gets away with it, given Black's steadfast appreciation of the exact position of every line he cheekily threatens to cross, and his twin appreciation of the gleefully reckless effects of just fucking crossing them and being done with it. Detective comedies need two simple things: a good detective story and good comedy - The Nice Guys has both. That's about all. Shit, that could be about all for this review! This is Black's formative era, the late 1970s, thus its recreation here is free of any artistic intent; the whole film feels free, to make its own honest mistakes and to hit its own accidental home-runs too. It's neither fresh nor retro, neither original nor derivative. Its setting is of narrative significance only, and leaves behind thoughts on society's attitude toward sexuality (and sexualisation) then and now, thoughts that don't linger. It's predictable in an inoffensive way, and offensive in a predictable way. The acting is good, very lively, let down a little by Kim Basinger's surgeon; the action scenes are incoherent and expose the coincidences rife through Black and Anthony Bagarozzi's screenplay. It's all appropriately adolescent mayhem, careless and carefree, energised out of sheer excitement for itself. More of a sugar rush than a drug bender - not much of a comedown, for better or worse.