Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So the last movie I saw from writer / director Neal Brennan, who is best known for being the co-creator along with Dave Chappelle of the insanely popular ‘The Dave Chappelle show’, with this movie of his called ‘Totally Awesome’. It was terrible. Awful. Just awful. From that awful experience I was left to draw the conclusion from that awful film watching experience that the emotionally ball of instability that is Dave Chappelle was the part of the pair that handled the business of being funny for that show. But now we have this here movie ‘The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard’, a movie about slimy cats selling used cars that was way better when it was called ‘Used Cars’ but… it did make me laugh. It’s not a good movie, say how ‘Used Cars’ was good movie in addition to being a funny movie… but it was a movie that made me laugh.

Jeremy Piven is hard driven used car salesman Don Ready and if there’s one thing you do not have to worry about in this movie it would be the character of Don Ready since Jeremy Piven has been playing a variation of this same character for probably as long as we’ve all been watching Jeremy Piven act. We call that a ‘constant’ in the sciences. Don and his crew have been summoned to some Podunk Southern California town to save Selleck motors run by Ben Selleck (James Brolin) and his team of malcontent incompetent sales warriors. Ready’s squad of aggressive wheeler-dealers consists of tough guy Jibby (Ving Rhames) who is looking for love, his colleague Brent (David Koechner) the numbers guy and the lovely, somewhat morally challenged Babs Merrick (Katherine Hahn).

It’s all nonsense of course but the goal is to sell all of the cars on the lot over the Fourth of July weekend because the bank is breathing down Mr. Selleck’s neck and if he can’t make his sales goals then the lot will go over to Selleck’s import rival down the street played by Alan Thicke. Ed Helms is here as well playing the boy band enabled future son-in-law of Selleck’s daughter Ivy (Jordana Spiro). Of course Don Ready has the hots for Ivory but love seems like such a distant and unattainable thing for poor Don. There’s more to the story but again, it’s all nonsense.

If you happen to be a fan of tasteless humor and you happen to be a fan of watching Jeremy Piven do what Jeremy Piven does, then I’m thinking you might dig this movie a lot. Jeremy was fired up for this one and he would be the main reason to see this movie because he was pretty funny it. There were other funny elements in the movie but… and I hate to say this… I’m thinking it could’ve and should’ve been way more tasteless than it ended up being. Seriously, if you’re going to commit to making this kind of movie, a movie in which the ‘story’ is simply a pretense for a various displays of tasteless comedy then go deep into the gutter my man! Deep! ‘The Goods’ was only lukewarm in its commitment to tastelessness.

This is a movie that is almost a sketch comedy in a way because it has gags that really don’t have much to do with anything. There’s the running gag of James Brolin’s character making all kind of not so subtle sexual references towards David Koerchner’s character, and while some of that was funny it really didn’t have anything to do with the movie on the whole. Then there was the running gag of Ving Rhames character of Jibby who longs to finally ‘make love’ to a woman, and while it was funny at times and did serve the purpose of bringing Noreen DeWulf into the picture, a woman who the Good Lord stuffed about as many feminine gifts that can be legitimately crammed into roughly five feet and 105 pounds worth of woman, but she didn’t get naked, even though she played a stripper, so what purpose was she really serving in this allegedly raunchy comedy. Offend me people. Go for it.

One plus is that Will Ferrell showed up in one of his patented cameo appearances cementing his spot as possibly the best cameo appearance actor ever. Richard Pryor was a great cameo appearance actor too but Will Ferrell has truly mastered the Art of the Cameo, though he might still be working on mastering the Art of the Leading Man. He’s my boy though.

I don’t know what to tell you man. If you’re searching for something that has some greater meaning or looking for a comedy with a story that actually has some relevance to the comedy movie that you watching then ‘The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard’ isn’t that movie. But if we’re talking about watching cats who have mastered something and you want to watch them do that thing they do, know  that Jeremy Piven has mastered doing that thing he does, and he does that thing to its highest levels in this movie. A movie that was pretty damn tasteless but one I feel wasn’t nearly tasteless enough. Go deep! Offend me.

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