The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

2 out of 5 stars
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Used-car salesman of the century Don Ready (Entourage’s Piven) gets called in to save a failing family dealership, with the help of his ex-womanizer wingman (Rhames) and a crack team of supporting hucksters. Potty-mouthed bits, politically incorrect wrongness and one-joke characters follow with the hit-and-miss quality of skewed SNL-style sketches: The auto-lot patriarch (Brolin) is a genteel dad and a rabid cruiser; his 12-year-old gland-case son is played by bullnecked comic Rob Riggle; Ready’s caricaturish cohorts favor breakfasts at strip clubs. The escapades are tossed off and fall flat, all products of the business-as-usual template created by the film’s producers, Adam McKay and Will Ferrell: Take a dclass, dorky setting, then pump it up with manchild mania and riffs-gone-wild absurdism.

Piven is the Ferrell figure in this would-be pile of crazy, but he’s so low-energy that the usually manic, motormouthed actor looks like he’d rather slip out the back door. A love-interest subplot involving Brolin’s daughter drags, and the ’90s references (boy bands and Extreme’s “More than Words”) only reinforce the idea that the decade has become the obligatory gag of the moment. Other than some rare bright spots—Kathryn Hahn’s sales honey with lips set in a permanent vamp, a grotesque Abe Lincoln yarn involving skydiving—this is a bona fide lemon.—Nicolas Rapold

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