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Movie Review: The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

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Written by Hombre Divertido

In 1980 Robert Zemeckis co-wrote and directed a film starring Kurt Russell as a cheesy care salesman out to sell a bunch of cars in a short period of time to save a dealership. Used Cars was full of outrageous characters and cheap laughs that appealed to a teen audience, as is The Goods starring Jeremy Piven.

Piven plays fast-talking, gun-for-hire Don Ready, who may be one of the most enjoyable characters, albeit one–dimensional, to hit the screen since Ron Burgandy. Unfortunately, this review has already referenced a superior film on the same topic and a superior self-absorbed character, and we are not even out of the second paragraph.

Piven is surrounded by an outstanding, but completely wasted supporting cast including Ving Rhames, David Koechner, Ed Helms, Kathryn Hahn, Ken Jeong, Ron Riggle, Alan Thicke, James Brolin, and Charles Napier, just to name a few. Unfortunately this collection of outstanding comedic talent, all of whom have proven their ability to play solid characters in other endeavors, is given little to do, as writers Andy Stock and Rick Stempson provide muttled motivation and trite storytelling. Koechner is wasted as a car salesman with little to do throughout this tired 89 minutes other than to ward off the homosexual advances of dealership owner Ben Selleck (Brolin). Rhames is given even less to work with and stands around for the first 30 minutes of the movie. Napier gives the most enjoyable performance, simply because it is clear what his crusty old salesmen is about.

The story is overwritten and gets bogged down in ridiculous plot choices that make what should be a simple “good guys beat the bad guys” tale into a convoluted mess. Our talented cast is left standing around trying to sell the audience a product that just doesn’t get the mileage it should.

The Goods is not without laughs. The commercial produced to illicit sympathy and bring people to the dealership generates big laughs, as does a scene, that appears to be improvised, with Will Farrell (in an uncredited cameo) falling to his death, surrounded by sex devices.

Recommendation: This is a B-movie reminiscent of the late seventies and early eighties. There is one solid character backed by a well-intentioned performance by Piven, and some good laughs mostly based on foul language and raunchy themes. It’s fun for a while, but the script eventually falls flat, and all that talent can’t fix bad writing. Used Cars may not have the all-star cast, but it does have a far-superior plot. Wait for The Goods to hit DVD shelves and have a  Saturday night double feature.

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