“The Goods” delivers some quick one-liners, little else
“The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard” delivers some witty, fast-paced one-liners, probably some of the funniest of the year, not to mention a deliciously amusing Will Ferrell cameo and a stellar supporting cast that nearly make up for the film’s many shortcomings. But as we know full well, one-liners and Will Ferrell don’t make a great movie (“Land of the Lost,” anyone?). “The Goods” is a lively, goofy and extremely low-brow comedy that'll offend some and produce laughter in others.
Jeremy Piven is Don Ready, a professional salesman who’s hired to help save struggling businesses. This time, he and his crew – Brent (David Koechner), Babs (Kathryn Hahn) and Jibby (Ving Rhames) are hired to save a Temecula, California used car dealership, Selleck Motors, from bankruptcy. Don and his crew must clear all 211 cars from the Selleck dealership over the July 4th weekend or Selleck motors goes under for good. The family dealership is run by Ben Selleck (James Brolin) and his pretty daughter Ivy (Jordana Spiro), who’s engaged to the Paxton (Ed Helms), the obnoxious son of a competing local dealer and aspiring boy band singer, and who stands in the way of Don saving the dealership. But Don and his team have considerable experience in delivering the goods at all costs, and they’ll do it here too.
No doubt about it, “The Goods” is energetic, entertaining and offensive nonsense, throwing out one-liners (most of which cannot be mentioned here) at such a quick pace it’s hard for the audience to keep up. Unememorably directed by Neal Brennan (“Half-Baked”) and produced by the “Talladega Nights” team, including Ferrell, Adam McKay and Kevin J. Messick, the story, characters and plot are thrown to the wind in favor of the crowd-pleasing laughs that come at a fast and furious pace. Piven goes through his usual paces playing a used-car salesman version of his “Entourage” character Ari except with bad hair, bad clothes and even worse singing.
But “The Goods” supporting cast steals the movie, especially hilarious character actress Kathryn Hahn as Babs (ironically named so, since Brolin is married to Barbara Striesand), who has a thing for Selleck’s mentally challenged, man-boy son and who’ll use her whole body for a sale. Watch for Ken Jeong (the faux-king from “Role Models”) in a few amusing moments as a car salesman who’s terribly and offensively abused. “The Office’s” Helms, seen in the earlier low-brow hit “The Hangover,” camps it up as the loathsome fiancé with spiky hair.
When in doubt, you can always rely on Ferrell for a buoyant cameo along with a couple of foul-mouthed but hilarious female African-American angels chirping at his side. Sacrilegious for sure, but it’s the one truly memorable scene from a movie chock full of one-liners. There’s never any doubt that Piven and company can deliver “The Goods,” which they do with assistance from one of the Bandit cars from “Smokey and the Bandit.”
“The Goods” is essentially a reworked version of the 1980 film called “Used Cars,” also not a great film but directed by Robert Zemeckis way before “Forest Gump.” As for story, plot and characters? Nah, not needed here. All you’ll remember from “The Goods” are a few lines and that Ferrell cameo. Not a great movie, but a crowd-pleasing, entertaining diversion for 90 minutes.