Monday, December 14, 2009

THE GOODS. Not so much.

I had never realized how much I liked Will Ferrell until he showed up for one scene in the middle of The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard dressed as Abraham Lincoln while falling to his death in a tragic skydiving accident. As he plummets, he provides a running commentary that provoked the only smile to cross my face during the entire movie. That’s not to say it’s a particularly funny scene, but rather that Ferrell’s good-natured loopiness was a welcome respite to the mean, suffocatingly noxious humor provided by Jeremy Piven, dominating nearly every scene in the movie as Don “The Goods” Ready, a mercenary salesman who is hired to save a failing car dealership. Piven gives such a convincingly slimy performance as this cocky jerk that it coats the movie with unpleasantness and smarminess that would be less of a problem if the movie itself weren’t so persistently mean-spirited in its comedy and downright ugly in its visuals. It strands such likable actors as Ving Rhames, David Koechner, Kathryn Hahn, Ed Helms, Tony Hale, and James Brolin with embarrassingly unfunny things to do. This is a comedy that wields profanity and inanity as bludgeons in an attempt to beat laughter out of the audience. It’s just plain off-putting, ultimately giving cause for nothing more than 89 minutes of near constant, headache-inducing, brow-furrowing.

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