Everything has its own illogic in “The Nice Guys,” a consistently entertaining, frequently violent and generally slapdash action comedy directed by Shane Black from a script he wrote with Anthony Bagarozzi.

Action comedies with mismatched buddies come readily to Mr. Black.

He first made his mark in Hollywood 30 years ago by selling the script for “Lethal Weapon,” which starred Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.

A decade ago he wrote and directed “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” with Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan.

“The Nice Guys” can’t match the brilliant absurdity of that latter film.

“The Nice Guys” also reveals a star in the making-Angourie Rice, who plays Holly, Holland’s precocious 13-year-old daughter.

Russell Crowe is the brooding, brutal Bud White, a cop consigned to muscle jobs, but a chivalrous soul all the same.

Curtis Hanson directed, with the authority of a master, and worked with Brian Helgeland on the exemplary adaptation of the James Ellroy novel.

Dante Spinotti did the marvelously atmospheric cinematography.

The Nice Guys