There are those who believe less is more, and there are those who believe more is more. And then there are those who believe more is all and less is for wimps. It’s the third group who are responsible for “The Goods: Live Hard * Sell Hard.”
“The Goods” is so over-the-top the phrase loses all context or meaning. Producer Will Ferrell may only make a cameo, but his and partner-in-crime Andy McKay’s fingerprints can be felt all over it. Don Ready and his posse are incorrigible, self-obsessed road junkies who don’t bat at an eye at spouting out the deepest darkest recesses of their minds no matter how socially awkward what they’re saying is. A fact that trumps Selleck’s rag tag group of car salesman but just a fraction of a hair.
And where most comedies take that awkwardness and try to build on it until a great house of cards that must eventually fall under its own weight, there is nothing too uncouth for the characters in “The Goods” to let fly with. And while everyone notices how awful some of what is being done and said is, they don’t bother to pause much beyond taking notice. It is the guiltiest of guilty pleasures. And much of it is so stupid you will feel nothing but remorse when you laugh at it. And God help you, but you will laugh at it.
But usually not when Don Ready is around. He’s the instigator, the fast-talker, a role Piven has been perfecting for most of his career and falls back into like he was slipping on comfortable shoes – but he doesn’t really bring anything new to it.
He is however backed up by a fantastic comedic supporting cast, from Tony Hale’s irascible salesman to James Brolin’s straight faced passes at one of Ready’s male team members. And most, Ed Helm’s antagonistic import dealer who wants nothing more than to take his over-30 boy band to the heights of musical stardom.
There is very little here in the way of character or story, but that’s probably for the best. Whenever it does make an attempt (mostly involving Ready and his realization that he’s tired of life on the road) it drags the proceedings to a glacial halt. “The Goods” is only good for one thing, and that is to create as uncomfortable, divorced from human nature situation as it can and then riding it out. Real humor either needs a helpful dose of malice or a lot of surprise, and preferably both, to give it real bite.
And as far that goes, “The Goods” succeeds. The explanation of the incident in Albuquerque that haunts Don Ready I can honestly say I didn’t see coming, and that’s usually a good thing.
“The Goods” isn’t trying for anything more than that, but what it is trying for it more or less succeeds at. That doesn’t make it a particularly good movie; in fact it pretty much ensures that it can’t be one, but it’s a funny one, once. Not any more, but not any less.