The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
Directed by Neal Brennan
Gary Sanchez Productions, 2009
By Brian Last
No wake, riot, or wannabe pop band will derail Don Ready from his goal. When Selleck Auto Dealers is on the brink of bankruptcy, owner Ben Selleck puts out an S.O.S. call to renowned car salesman Don Ready. Ready gathers his troops and drops them in with the Selleck sales team to show them how to roll out used cars and turn their Fourth of July sale into a profitable business saver.
Jeremy Piven plays Don Ready, a silver-tongued legend in the used cars game. He has all the confidence in the world and only one belief — and that’s in cars. Ready could sell a beat-up rambler to a blind guy, but when this job comes down the turnpike, things shift after he’s introduced to Selleck’s beautiful daughter Ivy (Jordana Spiro of TV’s My Boys). Ready lets his guard down for two seconds and falls for her. Caught off guard, Ready’s suddenly forced to question his direction.
Piven is funny as Don Ready; he’s foulmouthed and he’s deceitful, but he’s good. However, it’s not much of an acting stretch from his Entourage character Ari Gold. Piven is a likable guy and you want to root for him. But Piven is only good as his team. Dave Koechner, Ving Rhames, and Kathryn Hahn are a hysterical bunch as they each contribute their own unique talents to the team. Ed Helms, Ken Jeong, Charles Napier, and Rob Riggle add some more comedic support to an already hilarious central cast.
Now, the laughs are there and The Goods is a solid summer comedy, but it did not have me rolling out of my seat like The Hangover or I Love You, Man. What was working for it was its spontaneity; some of the one-liners that came from the yap of Jeong, Rhames, or Napier really had me cracking up. There were also a couple of funny ongoing jokes that built really cleverly. Where it fell flat was in its inconsistency and lack of identity. I don’t think the filmmakers knew what kind of comedy they wanted this to be. Piven had some smart and smooth lines, but then there were some raunchy jokes for shock value. It also had some misplaced sappy parts that didn’t sit well with me.
Despite its shortcomings, The Goods proves that Piven has the goods to be a leading man and not just part of an ensemble. Go see this movie expecting to laugh but do not expect to be floored as with a Hangover or a Superbad.