The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
Jeremy Piven does himself a disservice by offering Ari Gold light as a mercenary car salesman brought in to save James Brolin's car dealership, while fighting off rival car dealer and boy-/man-band sensation Ed Helms. One might question why every character Piven plays can't stop the compulsive nose itching. He plays it straight as the intensely cool hustler at the start but when the time comes for him to look a little stupid, à la Ron Burgundy, it doesn't work. He goes for over-the-top, in the Will Ferrell fashion, but it's been done so much better before that Piven's half-hearted effort is pure Melba Toast.
As if sensing Piven's inability to channel the brand of outrageousness that made Ferrell a star, the SNL alum is called in to pitch an inning of relief, but it's such a ludicrous afterthought, most likely improvised by Ferrell on the spot, that it does little to lessen the tedium.
Apatow regulars like Ken Jeong, David Koechner and Ed Helms turn in their usual amusing moments, which should be enough to keep younger, stupider audiences from posting their Bruno-ruining complaints on Facebook.
The desperate attempts by Piven to link the movie to The Hangover on late night TV can be understood now as a desperate Hail Mary. The Goods lacks the narrative consistency of The Hangover; it seems like a series of dirty jokes and extreme situations leftover from Dewey Cox, Talladega Nights and other recent comedies that weren't what you'd hoped for.
If a hostile dismissal of this light comedy seems excessively cynical, at press time it was suffering from a devastating ten-percent rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so there's consensus. (Paramount Vantage)
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