The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
Promised, but not Delivered

Watching The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, I felt like a little kid getting all excited because he could hear the music of the ice cream man coming down the street.  Unfortunately, I also felt as if, once that ice cream man arrived, all he had was a truck full of empty freezers.

The latest movie from the producing pair of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay stars Jeremy Piven as Don Ready, the king of used-car salesmen.  Along with his team of specialists, Ready has been traveling the country for fifty-one and a half weeks out of the year, showing up at struggling dealerships and selling their entire inventory in one fast paced, fast talking weekend.  Celebrating one such success with breakfast at a strip club, Ready is contacted by lot-owner Ben Selleck whose family business is being threatened.  In comes Ready to save the day.

Neal Brennan, director of The GoodsIt’s a good set-up, but unfortunately that is the point where the clichés take over the movie.  As you might guess, Selleck has a daughter to whom Ready is immediately attracted, but she just so happens to be engaged to the son of Selleck’s number one competitor who threatens to buy out the lot.  That ties in with the standard plotline about Ready resisting the idea of settling down in one place, and just for good measure there is also the backstory of a tragedy involving one of his former partners.

Going into the movie, I was expecting—as I’m sure most audience members will be—to be inundated with comically creative methods of selling used cars.  After all, this is Entourage’s Ari Gold as a used car salesman.  How perfect is that?  Unfortunately, almost every single car sold is done so in typical montage fashion.  There are a few exceptions and I understand that they couldn’t possibly have shown us all 211 sales in a 90-minute movie, but it still left me with a very unsatisfied feeling.

Not delivering on expectations seems to be a theme running throughout the movie.  For instance, there is a moment in which Ready explains that his pre-sale motivational speech is going to make us, um, very excited, but when the speech is delivered, it just falls flat.

Ready’s partners are played by Ving Rhames, David Koechner, and Kathryn Hahn, each of whom have their comedic moments and there is a fairly funny cameo near the end of the film.  The movie also answers the question that I’m sure has been on every one’s mind: Where have you been, Alan Thicke?

There are moments in the film that are at least moderately funny if not genuinely hilarious, but they are often followed up by moments of sheer awkwardness; for example, a speech about having just participated in a hate crime.  It’s because of these moments that the movie never really achieves any comedic momentum.  That, combined with the clichéd storyline that just doesn’t hold up, makes for a movie that just doesn’t work.

The Goods is rated R for “sexual content, nudity, pervasive language and some drug material.”  That description pretty much sums it up.  There doesn’t seem to be an excessive amount of anything, but it is certainly enough to warrant the R rating.

Courtesy of a local publicist, Jeff attended a promotional screening of The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard.