Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, The
Okay, I’ll admit it…I’m a Jeremy Piven fan. I’ve liked him in everything he did in supporting roles during all the films with his buddy John Cusack. I liked the all-too-short-lived series “Cupid.” Loved him as Buddy Israel in SMOKIN’ ACES, a role I’d love to see more time dedicated to, especially given that movie’s ridiculous ending. And who can forget the role he was born to play, Ari Gold in “Entourage.” And that’s what made me run to see THE GOODS: LIVE HARD, SELL HARD, a starring comedy vehicle for Piven as a fast-talking, aggressive, hard selling hired gun car salesman. The character is right in his wheelhouse. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t deliver on the level its premise would have us hope for… and this bar is especially raised when they advertise the same team that produced ANCHORMAN and TALLADEGA NIGHTS.
However, this is not for lack of comedy thrown at us. The cast is packed with comic actors all of which get their own part of the story line to run with. Yes, that’s Ken Jeong again, the Secret Asian Man who finds himself in every comedy now (ALL ABOUT STEVE, ROLE MODELS, THE HANGOVER, et al.), and he has a great bit with the old-timer Charles Napier, which you might remember as one of The Good Ol’ Boys from THE BLUES BROTHERS. Kathryn Hahn brings some estrogen into the comedy picture and does really well with it. David Koechner (who also did well this summer in EXTRACT) and James Brolin (WTF?) have a funny running gag, and Ed Helms keeps stealing scenes, this time as the front man for his Man Band, Big Ups. And Will Ferrell continues batting a thousand in cameos. Underused, unfortunately, are Alan Thicke, Jordana Spiro (who can’t love her from “My Boys”), and Wendie Malick, all of whom have good comedy chops and remained in the bullpen. Enough with the baseball metaphors.
However, though all this comedy is thrown at us, it makes the movie a collection of funny bits, rather than a coherent movie. And much of that falls on Jeremy Pivens inability to turn it into a comedy that we absolutely must line up and watch (like THE HANGOVER). But, as it is loaded with comedy, it still gets over a 5, but it still gets logged under the category of either “Rent with a bunch of buddies and a case of beer,” or “Wait until Comedy Central shows it on a random Sunday.” As redeeming value, it does suggest interesting ways to abbreviate “Albuquerque.” So that’s something.