The involvement of a plethora of well known comedians isn’t enough to save The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, a comedy directed by Neal Brennan.
The Goods revolves around a failing used car lot in California owned by an aging salesman played by James Brolin. The lot is staffed by a group of unsuccessful salespeople played by Tony Hale, Charles Napier, Ken Jeong and Jonathan Sadowski.
While Jeremy Piven seems like the perfect choice to portray Don Ready, the fast-talking traveling car salesman called in to turn things around, he comes up very short on laughs.
His cohorts, played by David Koechner, Kathryn Hahn and Ving Rhames, don’t fare any better.
It’s not that Piven and company don’t try. The film is littered from beginning to end with punch lines and gags. The problem is that they just aren’t funny.
Most of the “jokes” come at the expense of workers, women and homosexuals.
In what has to be the most difficult to watch scene, the staff of the car lot is provoked by a nationalist “inspirational speech” and anti-Japanese slurs to carry out a mob attack against an Asian-American salesman. After the attack comes to an end, the perpetrators admit to committing a hate crime but plan to defend themselves with the false claim that the Asian-American came at them with a samurai sword. For his part, the victim of the attack (Jeong) agrees to dismiss the whole thing, saying, “Actually, I’m Korean.”
A cameo appearance by Will Farrell and a boy band spoof by Ed Helms add little.
Similarly, the obligatory love interest that arises between Ready and the daughter of the car lot’s owner (played by Jordana Spiro) fails to rescue the film in any way.
Watching The Goods, one gets the feeling that the writers may have intended the film’s more over-the-top aspects to serve as some form of social commentary. If that is indeed the case, they definitely missed the mark.
But even if, on the other hand, their goal was simply to illicit a few cheap laughs, they still fell short.
The Goods could have been something much more. There was no lack of comedic talent and the used car business, marked as it is by fierce competition, predation and deception, is ripe for parody. Unfortunately, The Goods simply doesn’t deliver.