Diego Crespo’s review published on Letterboxd:
#DiegoPalooza continues with...
SHANE BLACK'S GREATEST HITS. AGAIN. BUT STILL GREAT & THEN SOME
Apart from Michael Mann the only other director/writer in the business who gets insane mileage from reusing material is Shane Black.
And it's so good. It's so good guys. It's so good I was slightly disappointing it wasn't immediately as great as Black's other work.
Nothing doesn't *not* work. Functionality and rich texture found in the world and characters of are defining traits of Black. Chemistry between the cast, the noir explorations, the down and dirty heroics that make the guys look not-so-nice... Shane Black can do this shit in his sleep.
It helps that Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe do career-defining work here in their versions of Black's near-stock characters. I don't think there's been a funnier duo in his filmography. Please let this film do well so we can see more of these two assholes.
I had gotten exactly what I wanted from this one. There's nothing wrong with an easy home run. I'd just like Black's next film to be another knock out of the park.
Then it clicked for me: Sleaze is the key here. Smog engulfs Los Angeles, broken men do the worst of their best to get by. But sleaze is only key in how it's all contrasted with the bundle of optimism in Angourie Rice as Holly March.
In case it was unclear, Black adores old pulp noir. This is his version of Nancy Drew. The mythic child deciding to fate herself for a better life by assisting her father - Riggs from LETHAL WEAPON if he never went batshit insane, opting to go batshit drunk.
She's the beating, truculent heart beneath the plethora of sludge hardening around Los Angeles. It might be too late for THE NICE GUYS to get out of this not covered in the grime they're surrounded by, but Holly still has a chance.
What better way to establish himself in a dying past than solidifying a hopeful future?