A.V. Club Most Read

News Newswire Great Job, Internet!
TV Club All Reviews What's On Tonight
Video All Video A.V. Undercover A.V. Cocktail Club Film Club
Reviews All Reviews Film TV Music Books
Features All Features Newswire Great Job, Internet!
Sections Film Tv Music Food Comedy Books Games Aux
Our Company About Us Contact Advertise Privacy Policy Careers RSS
Onion Inc. Sites The Onion The A.V. Club ClickHole Onion Studios

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

D+
D+

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

Director: Neal Brennan
Runtime: 90 minutes
Rating: R
Cast: Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, James Brolin

Community Grade (17 Users)

  • A
  • A-
  • B+
  • B
  • B-
  • C+
  • C
  • C-
  • D+
  • D
  • D-
  • F

Your Grade

?

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, the feature directorial debut of Chappelle’s Show co-creator Neal Brennan, casts Jeremy Piven as the head of a traveling crew of used-car salespeople. Mercenaries of the trade, they travel from town to town helping dealers clear their lots, using whatever sleazy means they deem necessary to make a sale. Then they pack their bags and move on, leaving a lot of unsatisfied customers in their wake. By the film’s final scene, the plot has started to feel self-referential.

Piven leads an ensemble cast of funny people—David Koechner, Rob Riggle, and Tony Hale tip an iceberg that also includes Kristen Schaal, Ed Helms, and others—shuffling through a largely laugh-free wasteland of easy setups, easier punchlines, and endless repetition. (Even those amused by the first scene in which James Brolin’s car-lot patriarch puts the moves on Koechner will probably have tired of the joke by the fifth go-around.) Brennan opens the film on a promisingly timely note, with footage of Brolin’s declining business synched to Loretta Lynn’s despairing “May God Bless America Again.” But The Goods is really about Piven’s character leading a charge for a return to the old-fashioned values of lap dances, hard booze, and easy money. (It’s almost as if he spent his formative years rebelling against some kind of PCU.)

About Piven: When did it go wrong? When did the caustic character actor guaranteed to liven up even the dullest movie turn into a walking black hole of smarm from which no joy can escape? Piven’s frat-boy-with-suspicious-looking-hairline act is front and center here, which demands a lot of tolerance from the audience. But the script and Brennan’s lay-it-on-with-a-trowel approach to comedy is what ultimately kills the movie. Funny ideas bubble up from time to time—Helms’ boy-band-for-thirtysomethings Big Ups, Craig Robinson as a character named DJ Request who’s fiercely opposed to taking requests—only to disappear into a morass of stripper jokes and desperation. When producer Will Ferrell shows up for a cameo involving a skydiving accident, a Lincoln costume, and a sex toy, The Goods seems on the verge of redefining the phrase “anything for a laugh.” Or it would if there were any laughs involved.