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Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe play mismatched private eyes in this crackerjack 70s comedy/mystery directed by Shane Black, a guy who skyrocketed to success with his second screenplay, a little movie called Lethal Weapon, which also paired a too-old-for-this cop with a wild, younger one.
It seems that Shane, who wrote the screenplay with Anthony Bagarozzi, has hit the jackpot again, as the film’s “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes is sitting at a more than respectable 90%.
The mismatched, yet completely complementary, characters are brute adversaries — Russell Crowe is Jackson Healy, a low-rent kind of guy who’s a bit like a loan-shark goon in that he’ll pretty much work for anyone who will pay him a few bucks. Ryan Gosling is Holland March, a down-and-out alcoholic detective and single dad, who sleeps in his bathtub and shows up to work still wearing last night’s clothes.
The duo teams up to solve a criminal conspiracy and search for a missing girl, Amelia Kuttner (Margaret Qualley), a rebellious teenager who ran away from home with no explanation, with a small army of thugs, assassins and corrupt officials in hot pursuit.
Most of the praise surrounding the film is directed at the casting of Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, who Adam Graham of The Detroit News calls a “dream pair.”
Adam goes on to call the interplay between the two “delicious,” as demonstrated in the screamer of a scene where Healy confronts March while he’s trying to cover himself up in a bathroom stall. He sums up his review by noting that the movie “flies high on the chemistry between Gosling and Crowe,” adding that it’s a “gourmet summer treat” that leaves you feeling satisfied, like you’ve “eaten a really good burger.”
From the moment March and Healy meet it’s “clear we’re witnessing the ugly beginnings of a beautiful friendship,” as The LA Times’ Justin Chang puts it.
The Toronto Sun’s Bruce Kirkland goes as far as saying, “Gosling and Crowe play with such reckless abandon and passion. Neither actor has ever been this funny before,” while Bob Bloom of ReelBob says the pair “creates movie magic” and “their collective charisma explodes off the screen.”
Already, some are hoping for a sequel, like Bob, who explains,”I generally am not a fan of sequels, but I wouldn’t mind spending more time with these not so smart, but funny nice guys.”