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The Nice Guys - ITV

Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling drive around LA

A cracking buddy-movie action comedy. 4/5 stars

Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling display a breezy chemistry as rival private eyes reluctantly teaming up to find a missing woman in this cracking action comedy set in sleazy 1977 Los Angeles.

They're the latest mismatched buddy duo to spring from the pen of writer-director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) and the formula is much the same as before: sassy banter interspersed with brutal violence.

Crowe is great as the more heroic of the pair, Jackson Healy, an unlicensed thug with a conscience who beats up people for money. But it is Gosling, losing his cool to play boozy, unscrupulous private dick Holland March, who is the film's revelation, showing off an unexpected flair for slapstick comedy as his character goes through a series of bruising pratfalls.

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.