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Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are a dream pair in Shane Black’s riotous “The Nice Guys,” a hilarious, pulp-filled detective story set amid the gas panic and smog alerts of late ’70s Los Angeles.

Crowe is Jackson Healy, a low-rent tough hired to beat people up and Gosling is Holland March, a down-and-out detective who when we first meet him is sleeping in a bathtub still wearing last night’s clothes. They team up to solve a mystery involving a missing girl, some seedy figures from the porn industry and a conspiracy involving auto emissions, the Big Three carmakers and the Detroit Auto Show.

Together, Gosling and Crowe romp through director Black’s tough-talking screenplay (co-written with Anthony Bagarozzi) which reads like a well-worn paperback detective novel. Their interplay is delicious, like the screamer of a scene where Healy confronts March while he’s trying to cover himself up in a bathroom stall.

Providing a valuable assist in the case is March’s 13-year-old daughter Holly (Angourie Rice, who is fantastic), who lends a moral center to the pair.

Black excels at making mismatched buddy movies (he made his directorial debut with the wonderful “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”), and he helped define the action era with his screenplays for “Lethal Weapon” and “The Last Boy Scout.” He doesn’t make films, he makes movies — big, juicy, satisfying movies, the kind that make you feel full and pat your belly at the end, like you’ve eaten a really good burger.

“The Nice Guys” flies high on the chemistry between Gosling and Crowe, and Black gives them plenty to chew on. It’s a gourmet summer treat. Nice, guys.

agraham@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2284

twitter.com/grahamorama

‘The Nice Guys’

GRADE: A-

Rated R: for violence, sexuality, nudity, language and brief drug use

Running time: 116 minutes

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