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Neal Brennan
Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, James Brolin, David Koechner, Kathryn Hahn, Ed Helms, Jordana Spiro, Tony Hale, Ken Jeong
Writing Credits:
Andy Stock, Rick Stempson

From the guys behind Talladega Nights and Step Brothers comes one of the most outrageous comedies of the year! Jeremy Piven leads an all-star comedy cast in this hilarious look at the rowdy world of competitive car dealerships. Smooth-talking salesman Don Ready (Piven) and his crazy crew of closers have just one weekend to move over 200 cars and prove that when it comes to conning, conniving and all kinds of bad behavior, they've got the goods!

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$5.642 million on 1838 screens.
Domestic Gross
$15.102 million.

Rated R

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $22.99
Release Date: 12/15/2009

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The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 25, 2009)

After years as a supporting/character actor – with good success, especially on Entourage - Jeremy Piven attempts to leap to comedic leading man status with 2009’s The Goods: Live Hard – Sell Hard. Piven plays Don Ready, a “mercenary” who comes into flailing car businesses and helps them move units.

Desperate to save his dealership, Ben Selleck (James Brolin) calls Ready and gets the mercenary’s team to his lot. Ready doesn’t arrive without controversy, however, as Selleck’s daughter Ivy (Jordana Spiro) doesn’t approve of Ready’s methods. We see Ready’s efforts to do his job, overcome the catastrophe of their visit to Albuquerque, get to know the man who may be his long-lost son, and maybe even woo Ivy.

If you ever watch Goods, try not to remember this synopsis. It acts as a loose framework because the flick really doesn’t come with much of a plot. The movie is nothing more than 89 minutes of sub-plots, really. It’s jam-packed with threads and gag ideas that make it feel over-stuffed with under-cooked ideas.

Essentially this makes Goods nothing more than multiple gags in search of direction – direction that director Neal Brennan can’t provide. I’m surprised to see that anyone actually claims to have directed the film; it’s put together in such a random, incoherent way that I’m not sure I believe anyone took charge. Maybe “Neal Brennan” is a pseudonym for “six drunken chimps”, as I think a sextet of simians could’ve done just as well.

Goods is the Triumph of the Supporting Actor. I already noted that Piven has made a career in that position, and virtually all of the film’s other performers fall into the same category. Ving Rhames, Ed Helms, David Koechner, Craig Robinson, and a slew of others crop up here. It’s a flick packed with the supporting folks from the worlds of Will Ferrell and Judd Apatow.

That’s an abundance of talent, but no one – not even Piven – seems able to take the bull by the horns and drive the train. (Ow – mixed metaphors!) Piven and his woeful hairpiece do their best to give the film some spirit and direction, but it just doesn’t work. Piven has a lot of talent, but as a lead actor, he doesn’t show the requisite charisma.

The lack of leadership at the top becomes more obvious when producer Will Ferrell makes his inevitable cameo. (I feared that this might be a spoiler, but come on – if Ferrell’s a producer, you should know he’ll show up on screen as well.) Ferrell doesn’t get much of a role for his small part, but he actually delivers some laughs from his silly scene.

To be sure, a few other amusing bits emerge across the flick’s 89 minutes. For instance, I like the sequence in which saleswoman Babs (Kathryn Hahn) manipulates a horny customer into a purchase. A handful of additional chuckles emerge, but we don’t get enough to flesh out 89 minutes of movie.

Not nearly enough, to be honest, especially given the relentlessly hyperactive nature of the film. Goods can’t stand to go more than 20 to 30 seconds without a gag, and it often tries to pack more than one in at the same time. The flick seems much longer than 89 minutes, as its pacing wears out the viewer before long.

But not because the viewer’s exhausted from all the laughing. The Goods isn’t a truly awful film, as its talented cast ensures that it boasts at least some minor charms. Unfortunately, those pleasures aren’t sufficient to make it a good piece of entertainment. Too much of the flick fizzles.

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus D-

The Goods: Live Hard – Sell Hard appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. For a standard-def DVD, the transfer looked pretty good.

Colors came across well, as the movie offered nicely delineated and bright hues. Blacks seemed dark and full, while shadows were reasonably smooth. Some interiors came across as a bit dense, but those instances weren’t problematic.

Sharpness seemed fine. A few examples of softness and jaggies cropped up through the film, but these were minor. Overall definition looked solid. I noticed no shimmering, and edge enhancement was minor. No source flaws marred the presentation. Some mosquito noise occasionally interfered, but not to a substantial degree. All in all, this was a fairly satisfying presentation.

I thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Goods was perfectly decent. Examine the audio of pretty much every other comedy of this sort and you’ll know what to expect from the soundfield. It was a front-heavy affair that usually didn’t offer much more than general ambience. Don’t expect action-movie material from this restrained mix.

No issues with audio quality occurred. Speech was consistently distinct and concise, and I detected no problems with edginess or intelligibility. Effects played a minor role and never taxed the system. They displayed decent accuracy, though. Music was a more prominent participant. The track boasted good life and definition to the various tunes, as those showed solid clarity and depth. This was an unexceptional soundtrack, but it was fine for this sort of film.

When a movie makes only $15 million, its DVD doesn’t usually come with copious extras. And that’s the case for The Goods, which only has some Previews. We get clips for Shutter Island, Wrong Turn at Tahoe, Road Trip: Beer Pong. And that, as they say, is that.

After I saw the trailer for The Goods: Live Hard – Sell Hard, I had high hopes for its comedic potential. Alas, the product itself can’t muster much charm or amusement value. It scatters a handful of laughs across its running time but it lacks coherence and consistency. The DVD provides fairly good picture and audio but it omits supplements. I’d recommend that you skip this forgettable clunker.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5714 Stars Number of Votes: 7
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