By all accounts, this movie should have been hilarious. The trailer was pretty funny, the red-band trailer was really funny, and despite the fact that I had no idea what the story was about, I thought this was a could-not-lose situation. That isn't to say I was expecting a classic film, but there was a lot to be hopeful for. The cast is peppered with familiar faces, and Jeremy Piven seems like the perfect guy to head it up. So, the question has to be asked: what went wrong? I went in looking for laughs and walked out bored and underwhelmed.
I guess the problems begin with the title. Why couldn't they just call it The Goods? Why the need to tag on what is ostensibly a tag-line? I get the idea that we are supposed to believe these guys both live and sell hard, now I want to know, do they Walk Hard? Whatever the reason, there it is. I guess I shouldn't get too hung up on it; what's in a title anyway? What matters is the content and it's not as if good movies never have bad titles.
As the film opens we meet the owner and crew (including Tony Hale, Ken Jeong, and Charles Napier) of Selleck Motors, a failing car dealership that is on the verge of going under unless they sell every car on the lot over the upcoming July Fourth holiday weekend. Ben Selleck (James Brolin) has no faith that his crew will be able to save the dealership, so he calls in a team of car-selling mercenaries led by Don Ready (Jeremy Piven).
Ready's team includes the ever lustful Babs (Kathryn Hahn), the sweet natured Jibby (Ving Rhames) who has never known love, and Frank (David Koechner), a no-nonsense fellow who doesn't take too kindly to Ben's confused come-ons. They land in Temecula, California, ready to sell some cars behind Ready's intensely driven personality. They meet Ben's well to do wife (Wendy Malick), 10-year-old Peter (Rob Riggle), who, through a hormone disorder, has the body of a 30-year-old, and daughter Ivy (Jordana Spiro), who is engaged to Paxton Harding (Ed Helms), the son of Selleck's hated rival Stu (Alan Thicke).
All right, there are your primary players. Ready leads his team into war as they get all the sales gimmicks going to get people on the lot and lead the charge through the thrill of the sale. It starts off pretty funny as they charge through the first day of sales, but then the problems begin to settle in. The story feels the need to develop the characters rather than float by on the sinking dealership plot. This would not normally be a problem, but considering how they develop our characters I think I would have preferred some skating by on the plot.