The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
I’m so happy you’re all paid to laugh at these jokes.

Theatrical Release Date: 08/14/2009
Director: Neal Brennan
Cast: Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, James Brolin, David Koechner, Kathryn Hahn, Ed Helms, Jordana Spiro, Tony Hale, Ken Jeong, Charles Napier, Rob Riggle, Noureen DeWulf, Craig Robinson

With the success of comedies like “Anchorman” and “Talladega Nights”, the basic theory these days is that you get a non politically correct main character, throw in raunchier and further morally ambiguous supporting characters and let them loose in some career field.

Such is the notion behind “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard”, where Jeremy Piven plays a hired gun in the car sales world, contracting himself and his team (Ving Rhames, Kathyrn Hahn, David Koechner) to help struggling dealerships in need oif clearing their lots.

Like those other films, the fun is meeting these characters and basking in their irreverent and rude natures. The trick to making the film work as a whole however comes in tying the comedic aspects in with the story elements. Some, like “Anchorman”, do just enough to balance the two elements and have become quasi instant classics (just try to find people who don’t know what ‘San Diego’ translates to).

With “The Goods”, director Neal Brennan gives audiences a fairly fun beginning but as the film must resort to some semblance of plot and character development, the wheels fall quickly off this lemon and the remainder of the film became a bland hodgepodge – equal parts boring and uninteresting. After the first hour, all of the film’s momentum comes to a screeching halt and thoughts of alternate places I could be came wafting through my mind. Even an uncredited cameo by Will Ferrell does little to make sticking with the film feel much better.

I will say that there were plenty of gags and situations that had me laughing out loud. Kathryn Hahn and Charles Napier in particular managed to remain fun and funny for most of the film. But they do not compensate for the rest of the script that threw the bevy of comedic actors good lines here and there but failed to create a cohesive vision worth people’s hard earned cash and valuable time. Nor do I understand why the filmmakers thought the word ‘querque’, as in Albuquerque, was so damn funny. They say it a zillion times (drinking game alert) but it always comes off as pretentious rather than quirky (no, not querque, quirky).

Die hard Piven fans might stomach the story elements a bit better (and I’m a huge “PCU” fan) but I can’t go any higher than a 2 out of 5 for “The Goods”. You’re much better off rewatching “The Hangover” or investigating the cash for clunkers program before it runs out of money … again.

For those of you who do venture out for this and manage to enjoy it, don’t stay through the credits. Usually zany comedies will have some joke waiting for those who stick through to the very end … here the filmmakers managed to throw in perhaps the least entertaining length of celluloid and it managed to solidify my decision to pan the film (I wasn’t really that much on the fence but still, don’t add insult to injury). Seriously, if you find yourselves in a theater showing this, feel free to leave once the names start scrolling. You’re welcome.