August 14, 2009

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

Uh, I thought we were getting Robin and Josh...

Grade: C +

Director: Neal Brennan

Starring: Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, James Brolin, David Koechner, Kathryn Hahn, Ed Helms, Jordana Spiro, and Tony Hale

MPAA Rating: R

Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

In the midst of the economic downturn hitting businesses hard throughout the country, Temecula, Calif. used-car dealer Ben Selleck (James Brolin) calls in a ringer to buck-up his flailing sales and regular staff over the impending Fourth of July weekend. Enter fast-talking hotshot Don Ready (Jeremy Piven, natch) and his crew of used-car-selling mercenaries, including David Koechner as the accountant who never sees bad credit, the saucy saleswoman (Kathryn Hahn) who develops a creepy infatuation with Selleck’s 10-year-old man-child (Rob Riggle), and Ving Rhames as, well, Ving Rhames.

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard revs its comedic engines early with a supporting cast primarily populated by an alliance of Frat Pack, Judd Apatow, and Daily Show regulars. Ready concocts marketing schemes built around Selleck’s fake battle with testicular cancer and a “celebrity” appearance by Bo Bice’s brother. Will Ferrell pops-up to do what he does best: cameos. And, who knew Charles Napier was still alive, much less able give a gonzo turn as a burned-out, unhinged salesman.

However, several reliables, such as Ed Helms and Craig Robinson, are squandered in nothing roles. And, the storyline ultimately starts drifting all over the road. Rhames’ character longs to make true love to woman, only to discover it’s really boring, while Ready realizes he wants to settle down and find true love with Selleck’s daughter, Ivy (Jordana Spiro, a less-annoying incarnation of Anna Faris).

Ultimately, however, the glut of single-cell sexual and racial gags grows tiresome. While not a clunker, The Goods runs out of gas far short of its final destination.

Neil Morris

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