Exiting the press screening for director Neal Brennan’s The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, I got the sense that Hollywood might never make another great comedy if it sticks to its current model of releasing schlock by conveyor belt. Seemingly picked straight out of Will Ferrell’s discard pile (questionably, though, he produced this train wreck and makes a forgettable, cringe-worthy cameo), The Goods starts out with a promising premise but quickly devolves into a mean-spirited nightmare of throwaway gags. The film is set in Temecula, CA, where Selleck Auto is in need of a miracle to save itself from tanking, and desperate hours call for the misguided, arbitrarily gay dealership owner, Ben Selleck (James Brolin), to recruit a hard-hitting motivator, Don Ready (Jeremy Piven), who whips Selleck’s crew of clueless, and occasionally racist, peddlers into shape. As car sales increase, Ready and his gang of wise-cracking assistants begin mingling with the insufferable folk of Temecula, including a “man” band called the Big-Ups, dozens of strippers, and Selleck’s mostly-normal daughter, Ivy (Jordana Spiro), and handicapped son, Peter (Rob Riggle). The off-the-wall characters (or caricatures) that inhabit the world of the film come off as tired, mean renditions of the same, trying Ferrell formula. Fully cured of his bout with mercury poisoning, Piven serves up another exhausted take on his Entourage super agent Ari Gold, while other supporting players replicate past performances from better, and more side-splitting, films. Clocking in at exactly 90 minutes, the thin story speeds along without any real sense of the people or texture of the town it lampoons so feverishly. It pains me to see another wasted opportunity, and misfire, with a generally talented cast (Ed Helms, Tony Hale) and director (Brennan helped create the brazenly sharp-witted The Chappelle Show). Thoroughly rehashed and oddly misanthropic, The Goods, frankly, doesn’t deliver the goods.
- Paramount Vantage
- 90 min
- Neal Brennan
- Andy Stock, Rick Stempson
- Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, James Brolin, David Koechner, Kathryn Hahn, Ed Helms, Jordana Spiro, Tony Hale, Ken Jeong, Rog Riggle, Alan Thicke, Charles Napier, Wendy Malick
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: