The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard – Review

Laugh hard

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Director: Neal Brennan
Notable Cast:
Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, Kathryn Hahn, Ed Helms, David Koechner, Jordana Spiro, James Brolin, Rob Riggle, Alan Thicke, Chuck Napier, Will Ferrell

Don Ready (Jeremy Piven) does one thing better then anyone on the planet: sell cars. Hopping on airplanes from coast to coast, Ready is a mercenary auto salesman called in when all else has failed. When everyone else fails, he doesn’t. Armed with a mathematical genius who can get anyone financed (David Koechner), a salesman who uses sex to make the sale (Kathryn Hahn) and another wishing to find love but finding everything else in its wake. Together they have perhaps their toughest mission yet: sell over 200 cars for Ed Selleck (James Brolin), a dealer who needs a successful Fourth of July event to stay afloat. That’s the crux of The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, the sort of raunchy R-rated comedy that the year has been waiting for.

Written and directed by one of the principles behind The Chapelle Show, The Goods is an R-rated comedy that truly embraces the rating. This is a foul, filthy comedy that is offensive on more levels then one should really try to count. Neal Brennan knows the sort of offensive comedy that can work on a large scale and The Goods is his attempt at making it into a feature length film. And at 90 minutes, he packs in as much humor as he can before gracefully exiting. And at 90 minutes, there’s enough comedy packed that right when the film begins to get over-saturated it ends.

The film works so well because it is mainly a series of loosely connected plot points that make up the film as opposed to a more coherent story. Throwing as much comedy against the wall to see what sticks, the film uses the Airplane style of comedy by throwing out as many jokes as possible. Hitting about 2/3 of them, it moves at a brisk pace in a rather clichéd manner. We all know what’s going to happen and how it’ll end but the fun is getting there. And it wouldn’t work if Jeremy Piven didn’t pull out a terrific performance in the manner of a 1980s Robin Williams.

Piven, known as Ari Gold in Entourage, tones down his famous character somewhat as Don Ready isn’t quite as bombastic as the Hollywood super agent but gets quite close to it. Piven has developed a persona based off of it that is making him oodles of money and it’s understandable that he’d go after roles that tend to go towards his comfort zone. If Kiefer Sutherland can ape roles based on Jack Bauer and 24 then it’s easy to see why Piven would drift towards characters like Ari. He’s a natural fit for the part and is a delight on the screen.

The interesting part is how much his supporting cast fits in and works together. This is a group of people who have been doing this for years and should have chemistry, especially in a sales setting, and this group pulls it off. All are relative famous but for a brief moment they all blend together well. This group has never worked together before and yet it seems like Piven, Hahn, Rhames and Koechner regularly work together as a comedy troupe based on how well they work with one another on screen. This is a group upon whom the success of the film rests, obviously, and they come through with flying colors.

The Goods is the sort of film The Hangover was supposed to be: one of the best comedies of the year.


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