DirkH’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'm always impressed when a filmmaker can go about his business without pretense. Shane Black seems to be the epitome of that. His movies come across as him just doing his thing and having a good time while doing it.
The Nice Guys is easily dismissed as insubstantial fluff. It's a buddy cop movie with a dense plot set in a setting that is ripe with stereotypical recognition. No harm, no foul, just not much too it.
But in the hands of Black it changes into a comedy that is distinguished by extremely witty dialogue, against the grain choices and an eye for great characterization.
The plot is extremely convoluted, but never in a way that becomes distracting. I'd even go so far as to say that especially Gosling's character serves as an anchor for the audience as he also just lets all the events flood over him without really knowing what's going on.
Crowe and Gosling breathe so much life into their characters its impossible not to get involved in their shenanigans. Writing fun characters is one thing, but actually transferring that to audiences requires strong performances. Crowe is great, but Gosling just runs away with his character and steals the show completely. His comedic timing is truly impressive.
The Nice Guys provides a wonderful distraction. It's fun without pretense which is, in my humble opinion, the best kind there is.