Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

This movie is atrocious. But honestly, that doesn't come as any surprise. It had some potential- a great cast (and I mean really great) and a concept that could lend itself to some very funny situations. Unfortunately the film makers doesn't utilize any of these assets, and instead they churn out a criminally unfunny movie.

The Goods is about a band of mercenary car salesmen who travel around the country trying to save struggling dealers. The movie opens on failing Selleck Motors as Don Ready (Jeremy Piven) and his crew come in revitalize the company before it's foreclosed on. Car lots can involve very funny situations- one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes took place at a car dealership. The Goods, instead of including well timed observational humor, focuses on profanity, sexual innuendo, and situations that rival our least favorite parody movies (Including comparing the auto lot to a riot and a battlefield).

Piven tried to capture that sleazy, yet somehow charming jerk. This applies both to moving cars, and his infatuation with the dealer owner's daughter (Jordana Spiro). Aaron Eckhart mastered this role in Thank You For Smoking, whereas Piven just you with a bad taste. This applies to most of the other characters, too, from Ving Rhames' stiff dialog, to Rob Riggle's man-child. The only person immune to this is Ed Helms, who I think is one of the funniest people working today.

Of course the best selling point is the cast. That's what sold me. Ving Rhames, Ed Helms, Tony Hale, Rob Riggle, David Koechner, and even a small but great cameo by Kristen Schaal. And this is just a small sampling of a wonderful ensemble cast. The movie falls well short of the sum of its parts (it's more like the difference of its parts). It suffers the same fate as last year's Step Brothers. Great comedic leads given a terrible script. The dialog is stilted, and as I previously mentioned, it focuses way too much on profanity. This really isn't much of surprise with a fairly green director (Neal Brennan) and writers. Brennan, the most experienced of the team made his break directing Chapelle's Show. When charged with a feature, however, he just can't keep it going. Even though it's produced by funnyman Will Ferrel, the best that comes out is his small cameo in one scene.

The Goods is one of the least funny movies of the year. A great cast is reduced to walking through stilted dialog like their reading it for the first time. Don't waste your time on The Goods.


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