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Movie Review: The Goods. Live Hard. Sell Hard.

August 14, 2009

Jeremy Piven and a colorful cast almost sell this mediocre movie

By Shannon

Make no mistake about it, this movie will make you laugh.  It just won’t do more than that.

the-goods-live-hard-sell-hard-movie-posterJeremy Piven (barely tweaking his acerbic alter-ego Ari from Entourage) plays Don Ready, a mercenary for hire that is brought in to invigorate sales at a flailing car dealership by the lot’s owner Ben (James Grolin).  He brings his posse of hard-closers (who are part grifters, part salesmen) and sets up camp in Temecula, California over a fourth of July weekend.   Don is immediately smitten when he meets the car lot owner’s  daughter Ivy (Jordana Spiro).  In a bid to impress her, he bets a competing lot owner Stu (Alan Thicke) that he can sell every car on the lot, or the lot is all his.

Don and his team of Jibby (Ving Rhames), Brent (David Koechner of Anchorman fame), and Babs (Kathryn Hahn, Stepbrothers) give a crash course to the salesmen currently employed by the dealership.  Ken Jeong (The Hangover), Charles Napier, and Tony Hale (Arrested Development) are skeptical of the strangers, but are out of a job if the mercenaries don’t deliver (the goods), so they willingly follow their advice.

A huge blow-out weekend complete with free hot-dogs, a DJ, strippers, and inflatable gorillas lures rabid deal seekers to the lot, and ridiculous antics ensue.  Think Animal House on a used car lot.

Some things work well.  Will Ferrell makes a brief but hilarious appearance.  Having a DJ named DJ Request become unhinged whenever someone has the audacity to request a song was deliciously ironic, and one of my favorite parts of the movie.  The movie boasts a pretty amazing ensemble cast.  Ed Helms, Wendie Malick, and Craig Robinson are  bit players as well.  Helms is predictably hilarious as the fiance of Ivy.  He is being groomed to take over his dad’s competing car lot, but his real dream is to tour with his boy band Big Ups!

Other things, not so good.  A side plot about Babs being obsessed with nailing Ben’s son who is 10 (but looks like he is an adult due to a pituitary condition)  was just icky.  I don’t think laughing at pediophilism is ever acceptable even in an politically incorrect movie.  Another running gag that fell flat was closeted Ben constantly hitting on Brent.  The joke isn’t funny to begin with, but it is played over and over again.  I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through James Brolin’s mind each time he groped, leered or propositioned  Koechner’s character.

The romantic story arc  is ridiculous. Despite being engaged, Ivy is drawn to Don (who knows why, he is horribly unlikable).   There is no development of their relationship whatsoever, but by the end of the weekend, they are in love. Huh? In an insulting monologue, Ivy explains that she is engaged  to an idiot because she is almost thirty, and “what else can I do?”   Because you know us gals, we can’t really function without a man in our lives, and we’ll take whatever we can get. I also didn’t find Jordana Spiro to be a good casting choice. She lacks charisma in this movie, and is as bland as can be.

Director Neal Brennan (Chappelle’s Show) doesn’t really introduce anything new or exciting to the genre with this outing.  Like a used car, it will get you where you need to be (laughing) but there is nothing original or exciting about getting there.

Frothygirlz rating 5/10


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