The requisite elements are all in place for the raunchy comedy The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard to succeed. You’ve got the ridiculous storyline of a car lot needing to do anything to sell off its entire inventory over the Fourth of July long weekend. They’re so desperate, owner Ben Selleck (James Brolin) decides he’s got to bring some “experts” to do the wheeling and dealing. Enter the A-Team: Don Ready (Jeremy Piven), the politically incorrect used car salesman guru; Brent (David Koechner), a hardnosed, anti-gay salesman; Babs (Kathryn Hahn), a horny, hot-to-trot saleswomen; and Jibby (Ving Rhames), a quiet giant of a salesman just looking for love.
It starts off good enough too — a heartfelt diatribe on the loss of American values followed shortly after by an orgy on an airplane. However, once the plane lands, the laughs dwindle to nothingness no matter how vulgar or crude the writing duo of Andy Stock and Rick Stempson tried to make it. Oh, and they certainly try — The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard is one of the dirtier movies to come out in a long time.
As the movie progresses, each member of the team has their own trajectory and each, if lucky, gets one or two laughs out of it. Don Ready, falls for Selleck’s daughter Ivy (Jordana Spiro) while exercising his demons from a long ago sales event gone horribly wrong. Brent has to fight off advances from a bi-curious Ben. Babs falls in love with a ten-year old boy who, thanks to an over stimulated pituitary gland, looks like he’s forty. Jibby falls in a love with a stripper with a brain.
Out of them all Jibby is probably the funniest — not because his character is anything special — more so because it’s Ving Rhames playing him. There is just something terribly funny about a guy the size of a Volkswagen Beetle complaining he’s never made love to a woman (although he admits to 100’s of other sex acts with them). In second, comes Ed Helms as Paxton Harding, Ivy’s fiancé and over aged boyband member of Big Ups. Their performance rehearsal is definitely worth a laugh or two. Sadly though, the obligatory cameo by Will Ferrell misses the intended mark by a wide margin.
It all boils down to tired writing and directing because the cast definitely worked hard at getting a laugh with the material. I must say, it’s bewildering to watch writing get progressively worse — so bad, that in the end, it looks like they simply stopped trying.
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard could have been — hell, it should have been — so much more of a funnier movie. Of course now that I realize that it was written by the same guys who wrote the mess that was Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach, I guess I should be happy with what I saw: Mediocrity at its finest.