Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, James Brolin, David Koechner, Kathryn Hahn
Adam Stock, Rick Stempson
Sometimes, you can just tell.
Think about it.
The name, even just the name. "The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard."
Could they possibly have come up with a cheesier name for their film?
Unfortunately, in this case it's truth in advertising. "The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard" is just an excuse for a no-holds-barred raunchfest with only a few jokes that really hit their mark and a tired, lazy script that fizzles out long before the film's closing credits.
The storyline, as if it really matters, involves conniving car salesman Don Ready (Jeremy Piven) and his team of high pressure, anything goes sales force that includes Jibby (Ving Rhames), Babs (Kathryn Hahn) and Brent (David Koechner). The team is hired to rescue a Temecula, California car dealership on the verge of being taken over by the evil empire of Paxton Harding (Ed Helms) and his father (Alan Thicke).
Can anyone name the last decent Jeremy Piven film?
For an actor who publicly lamented how his former best buddy John Cusack sort of abandoned him once he started to achieve success, Piven seems remarkably inept at choosing anything resembling a halfway decent cinematic project.
Stick with "Entourage." Clearly, it will be the closest you come to true success.
Now then, while Cusack can't seem to get anyone to see his truly great performances ("Grace is Gone," anyone?), he at least has the satisfaction of having appeared in numerous box-office successes, romantic weepies and has tossed in a few critically acclaimed performances.
"The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard" floats by on the basic charm of its cast, a few fun cameos, a few decent one-liners and the rather obnoxious charm of its unabashed raunchiness.
Even moreso than happened in "The Time-Traveler's Wife," "The Goods" takes a decent cast and basically tosses them aside into a sea of mediocrity that never ends until the closing credits.
Inexplicably, "The Goods" is produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. It's difficult to fathom what Ferrell saw in this material, but I suppose the same could be said for his 2009 debacle, "Land of the Lost." Maybe Ferrell is modeling himself after Adam Sandler, tossing his good buddies mediocre projects just to give them a decent paycheck?
Of course, one would think that Piven is above such a thing. Still, one has to wonder.
While "The Goods" is a modestly budgeted comedy under the Paramount Vantage label, it's likely to still struggle to recoup its budget given its opening opposite the widely praised sci-fi flick "District 9" and the Rachel McAdams led "The Time-Travelers Wife," a disappointing flick but one that has a built-in audience from the beloved novel.
Don Ready and his team may very well save the day, but they can't save "The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard."
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic