Saturday, August 15, 2009

"The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard" (2009) - Movie Review

Ever wonder how visible are the set of rules for a character in a film. I have read a little about screenwriting and one of the exercise is to write about each character, their behaviour, goals, mannerisms etcetera etcetera. It helps to build the story and the actions. It is in my personal opinion is that the scenes use those to react while not make chiseled examples of the defined traits. “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard” not only makes it inconspicuous but makes it a point to behave thinking as a good selling point.

In this film Jeremy Piven is Don Ready, a man’s sole purpose is to sell cars and nothing else. Piven acts out Ready as a man hooked on to this process of sales. He travels with his crew on the road and hitting the dead lot of a car dealer ship in to making it empty. The boss of Selleck Motors Ben Selleck (James Brolin) hires Ready and his team as a last resort to save his business. Ready’s stay of three days at this place will have everything happening to try and make this film a laugh riot. What you get is one riot in it and you do not find it funny.

There is a blond beauty Ivy Selleck (Jordana Spiro) engaged to an obnoxious traditional comedy flick fiance who we would want to get hurt and we would die in giggle seeing it. Ed Helms is that poor soul as Paxton having high ambition to get his over thirty boy band to success. There is a DJ (Craig Robinson) having an ego if someone request a song (and you would wonder what the heck a DJ do in car sales, you would be surprised). A middle aged hotty Babs (Kathryn Hahn, whom I could not believe is the same woman playing Wheeler’s neighbour Milly) having a horny erotic crush on Ben’s ten year old son (Rob Riggle) who looks forty. Add some more character m&m’s Brent (David Koechner) and Jibby (Ving Rhames), there is a recipe for a comedy not so comic enough film.

Being a car salesperson is a legal conning. It is a psych game and make a decision for the customer. A “good” salesperson is a good con and a good psychologist. And this is not something the crowd does not know. The two times I have bought a car, whenever the salesperson said he would go back and ask the manager, there was an emergency alarm blazing all around me saying “Danger Danger ! Conning in Progress”. The man could have been Gandhi and I would still think. Of course thinking only make it worse. It is a funny game and Piven as Don Ready makes one great car sale in the end which I believe should have been the whole trend of the film. What makes Don Ready the artist for used car sales. He preps up to pump up the cheer in the sales people in the dealership but the actual act is the fun. You play the game and it is entertaining when the game is on others than you. May be you would have been had and laugh at it through this. Instead there is plot, a love interest no one cares and a careless cameo by Will Ferrell which the movie could have lived without.

Jeremy Piven is a good sleaze for a sharply dressed man. He is also good in playing the person who is up on the face. Never backs down, loud noises and spells out his lines using his total energy. He is a likable persona in this movie but not a funny man. He projects as a good man yet not enough to care for an end to forgive the flaws of the film.

Directed by Neal Brennan, “The Goods: Live Hard Sell Hard” begins promisingly. It might be a little strange to say but cuss words are a great tool if used properly. It should be used as it should be used. It has a weight to a line, a twist to the character and yes an affection to the uttering specimen. That with dialogues of power, drama or comedy becomes the catalyst to make it something more than a mere line of communication. Piven does those while successfully turning the plane into a dope salon and parties like a mad man in the first few minutes. After that it heads down and the cuss words follow through now and then. All those time, I was indifferent as I would be watching golf.

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