Cash for Clunkers 


The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
Directed by Neal Brennan

A WWII vet punches a guy out after calling his wife a bitch, breasts are bared at a strip club breakfast, and there's a reference to "smurf jizz", all within the first five or so minutes of The Goods, a Jeremy Piven car salesman vehicle from the "guys" (Will Ferrell and Adam McKay) who've "brought you" several things like it. Quickly ticking off its obligatory market-targeting crass points, the movie soon skids into the plot at hand: A Temecula, CA lot owner (James Brolin) must start moving cars to avoid being bought out by his future son-in-law's father (Alan Thicke), so he brings in a certified slasher, Piven's Don "The Goods" Ready, to shake things up. Unlike 1980's Used Cars, with which it shares a basic gist (and a love interest angle with the lot owner's daughter), The Goods feels arbitrary and anachronistic, the salesman plot seemingly grabbed out of a bag (perhaps after a viewing of John Landis's documentary Slasher) as a reasonably sturdy branch on which to hang some loud gags.

It's less like a directed movie than merely writers Andy Stock and Rick Stempson's attempt to fine-tune the mistakes of their straight-to-video Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach (semi-coloned titles being another tick-mark requirement). Piven's obviously comfortable by now in the role of arrogant huckster, and he packs a lot of sleazy-charming energy into his beefy, compact frame. The Goods is crammed with minor characters, so even if you hate a few you'll probably like some others. Rob Riggle socks it to the retarded (tick), but not really because he's actually just a ten year-old. Ken Jeong does the Ken Jeong thing (tick). Brolin manufactures homosexual awkwardness (tick) with his come-ons to David Koechner. Ving Rhames, as Ready's lovelorn teammate, gets the best lines, and Will Ferrell's dying cameo is funny, though it reminds you of his scenes as a used car salesman in Eastbound & Down, which are all funnier than anything in The Goods.

Opens August 14


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