Jeremy Piven & Ving Rhames in The Goods: Live-Hard. Sell Hard.
'The Goods: Live-Hard. Sell Hard.'
Sloppy, grimy but quick on its feet, which puts it ahead of certain other R-rated comedies (" The Hangover") we've seen this summer, "The Goods" stars Jeremy Piven, perpetually in fidgety weasel mode (separate from his weaselly fidget mode) as Don "The Goods" Ready, the swiftest shark in the used-car-selling business.
The milieu may bring back fond memories of Robert Zemeckis' 1980 "Used Cars."
To be clear: There's not a single shot in "The Goods," helmed by debut feature director Neal Brennan ("Chappelle's Show"), that you could describe as carefully composed or pictorially vivid.
But the script by Andy Stock and Rick Stempson offers a fair number of low, cheap, verbally adroit and usually filthy laughs.
I used to think quality was everything when it came to screen comedies, even stupid ones, but quantity's important too.
"The Goods" does not seem poised to take over the world the way a more acceptably raunchy comedy such as "The Hangover" did, but the writers have talent, and they believe in keeping the gab fast and loose. Any film that has veteran character actor Charles Napier attacking a customer in the opening seconds cannot be dismissed outright.
Rogue salesfolk for hire, Piven and his fellow closers, played with unruly relish by Ving Rhames, David Koechner and Kathryn Hahn, are hired by Temecula, Calif., used-car legend Ben Selleck (James Brolin) to move the inventory, pronto, over a Fourth of July weekend.
"The Goods" cooks up just enough narrative fodder to hold this jalopy together: Does Don Ready have a grown son he's never met? Will he and the boss' daughter, played by Jordana Spiro, get together?
The supporting cast includes Craig Robinson, playing a character named DJ Request, which gives him the opportunity to say: "NOBODY tells DJ Request what to play!" Hacky technique?
Yes. All over the place. More misses than hits in the joke department, whether the jokes involve lap dancers or not?
Check. Piven a little too practiced at this sort of wheeler-dealer by now? I believe he may be.
Yet I laughed more than I thought I would (though, of course, hope springs eternal at the movies), and if I ran the Hollywood zoo, I'd give these particular screenwriters another assignment.
"The Goods: Live-Hard. Sell Hard." Movie Trailer
The Goods: Live-Hard. Sell Hard. MPAA rating: R (for sexual content, nudity, pervasive language and some drug material).
Running time: 1:29.
Starring: Jeremy Piven (Don "The Goods" Ready); Ving Rhames (Jibby Newsome); James Brolin (Ben Selleck); Jordana Spiro (Ivy); David Koechner (Brent Gage); Kathryn Hahn (Babs Merrick); Ken Jeong (Teddy Dang); Charles Napier (Dick Lewiston); Craig Robinson (DJ Request); Ed Helms (Paxton Harding).
Directed by Neal Brennan; written by Andy Stock and Rick Stempson;
Produced by Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, Kevin Messick and Chris Henchy.
A Paramount Vantage release.
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