Writer-director Shane Black returns to the comedy-noir vibe of his 2005 hit Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with this riotously funny thriller set in late-1970s Los Angeles. It's an entertaining mix of hilarious action mayhem, slapstick and violence anchored by Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, who unexpectedly prove to be a superb comedy double-act.
It's 1977, and private detective Holland (Gosling) is searching for a porn star who was spotted alive after dying in a car crash. His investigation leads him to Amelia (Margaret Qualley), who has hired the thug Jackson (Crowe) to keep people off her tail. After beating up Holland, Jackson realises that maybe they should be working together, as other cases seem to be dovetailing around Amelia's politically powerful mother (Kim Basinger). But now Holland and Jackson are being chased by the legendary assassin John Boy (Matt Bomer). And Holland is having a terrible time keeping his bright 13-year-old daughter Holly (Angourie Rice) from getting involved in this dangerous case.
Gosling and Crowe play Holland and Jackson as a classic comedy duo along the lines of Abbott and Costello or Hope and Crosby: bumbling idiots who somehow manage to save the day due to dumb luck and someone smart looking out for them. In this case, their guardian angel is Holly, and young Aussie actress Rice more than holds her own against these A-list stars. Holly is the only person on-screen who has a clue what's actually going on, and Rice effortlessly walks off with the film, giving a knowing performance that's hugely engaging. The other scene-stealer is Bomer, whose slick, overconfident killer is simply screaming to be taken down a peg or two.
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If you're on the wrong side of the law and looking for someone to send a special kind of 'message', Jackson Healey might just be the man you call. One day his work takes him to the door of Holland March where he leaves his own particular type of message for Holland, a private detective who's currently a little down on his luck.
When an employee of the Department Of Justice finds that her daughter has gone missing, she employs Healey to find her by any means necessary. Out of his depth, Healey calls on the best private eye he knows. Initially very hesitant to work with the guy who only recently sucker punched him, Holland agrees to help find the girl.
As clues are revealed, it looks like Amelia (The missing girl) has somehow become intertwined with the mob who are trying to branch out in LA. As the amateurs hunt down Amelia, the case takes them down dangerous paths they never thought they'd venture down.
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