Bidula’s Last Word – The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

My wife still did not get what she was promised this week.

Though we took a break from the big action blockbuster (and thankfully the season is almost over), we still wound up seeing a movie about which I was much more excited than she. I owe her, though, and may wind up seeing 500 Days of Summer just to set the keel back to even. (I hope she doesn’t kill me when she reads this sentence and finds out that I’d like nothing more than to see Inglorious Basterds sometime before the next week is out…)

So yeah. We got The Goods.

The main reason I wanted to see this is because I think Jeremy Piven is an absolute comic genius. I remember seeing him showcased in PCU like a million years ago and that performance sticking with me enough to steal some of his sound bites about college from less-than-reputable internet sources so that I could pepper my college radio show with his awesomely sarcastic, and now especially timely, dialogue. Now, of course, I watch him on Entourage, often wading through 20 minutes of crap show just to see the 10 that he’s on the screen kicking serious ass.
I am glad to see him returning to the big screen in a title role. Yes, “The Goods” is the middle, quotation-marks nickname to the main character, Don Reddy. A mercenary sales person of questionable repute whose sole purpose is to sweep into a town, sell a ton of cars, and get the hell out with a fat chunk of change in his pocket.
These people really exist, too, which was surprising to me. Auto-Sales Mercenaries are out there using every shady weapon in the salesman’s arsenal to get you to buy another piece of heavy equipment and they are typically employed during the most advertised sales of the year.
This is not a cautionary tale, however, this is a comedy.

Riding along with Piven are his crew of auto privateers consisting of large, sensitive man Jibby (Ving Rhames), tough-guy Brent Gage (David Koechner aka “That Bald Guy from Anchorman”), and ultra-horny cougar Babs (Kathryn Hahn). Pepper in a supporting cast of Ed Helms, Alan Thicke, James Brolin (sporting the narrow Bush eyes that his son used in W), Will Ferrel in a great cameo, as well as a cast of other car salesmen too long to list here (you wanna know, look it up on imDb, dammit) and you’ve got exactly what the title promises.
Does it deliver? I thought so. I wasn’t going into this movie expecting Oscar-quality cinema, but I was going in expecting better than the last two movies I’d seen, as referenced in this very blog. I got what I wanted, if only because this was a different type of movie. This only had the potential to ruin my night instead of raping my entire childhood.

There were more than a few theater-consuming laugh-out-loud moments, which is always the sign of a movie that is truly funny, at least the first time you watch it. The comedy of the flick is really accented by Piven’s ability to talk. Piven just has a way of talking that you know has been well used many times in his personal life. I don’t know if its improv or if it’s scripted but his acting is so natural in his latter day roles as great convincers and connivers (see: Ari Gold) that, even in the most extreme of circumstances, he seems completely believable as both a character and a real person. It almost makes the jokes funnier.
The cast is hysterical, the situations and the sales (and the Eric Bice Riot) are, in some spots, laughable because they seem like, if you were trapped in the sleaziest used car lot of all time, they could actually happen. I’m sure some of the story was based in true fact, though I highly doubt that a term quickly mentioned and defined in the movie, a “Nigerian Buyback”, has ever really happened. If it has, I’d like to meet that sucker and punch him in the face for being so stupid.
The only semi-complaint I have is that they stole a gag from Aqua Teen Hunger Force when Farrel makes his cameo, but it’s used to much more comedic effect than it was in the show, so it’s forgivable. If you know Aqua Teens, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I mention singing women and John Kruk.

A short review for a short movie. Not much controversial to talk about. If you’re tired of the blockbuster scene, get out to see this flick and have yourself a good couple of toilet laughs. It’s not the most fantastic movie ever made, but for me, it was a welcomed oasis in a desert of multi-million-dollar mayhem.

If it helps, it was even released on an Indy label! Though, Paramount is still going to get your money (if they haven’t already with Transformers and GI Joe), it’s still nice to think that it’s a smaller flick done by people who actually care about what they’re putting out. Even if my wife thought some of the gags were pretty recycled.

Bidula’s Last Word: 7.5/10

Like I said, a welcome break for anyone looking to take their mind off of blockbuster travesty. A worthy watch, if only just once.

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