Dicks: The Musical
Directed by Larry Charles
Written by Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp
Starring Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp and Nathan Lane
Classification N/A; 86 minutes
Opens in theatres Oct. 20
A perfect case of a title delivering exactly what it promises, the new comedy Dicks: The Musical is an adults-only riot that wastes no time flying big fat red flags to any moviegoer with, let’s say, delicate sensibilities. If you might be repulsed the by the sights (and sounds) of talking genitalia, to say nothing of diaper-clad sewer mutants who have a taste for deli meats, then flip the page/shut your laptop/throw your phone into the river. Because Dicks masterminds Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp are here to take you on a wild, wet ride into the toilet bowl of bad taste.
That’s a compliment, by the way, as the pair’s two-man musical turned feature film is a wondrous thing: a genuinely unhinged joke stretched so far and with such disciplined mania that it boomerangs back into jaw-dropping hilarity. At least that’s how it plays for audiences predisposed to laughing whilst shaking their heads in disbelief. (Hi, it’s me. I’m the sick guy.)
Narrated by a defiantly queer God (Saturday Night Live’s Bowen Yang) and taking place in an absurdly hypersexualized version of New York, Dicks opens with “confident heterosexual” business bros Craig (Sharp) and Trevor (Jackson) ruling their respective roosts. Then the two meet for the first time and realize, gasp, that they’re identical twins separated at birth (even though they look nothing alike). Determined to reunite their parents and become a family, Craig and Trevor embark on a crazy scheme familiar to fans of The Parent Trap.
The trouble is that their father Harris (Nathan Lane) is a proud gay man, and their mother Evelyn (Megan Mullally) is a decrepit shut-in with more extreme medical ailments than all the patients of the Mayo Clinic combined. And then there’s Harris’s two adopted children, the aforementioned pair of incontinent underground creatures who snack on smoked turkey and are lovingly called Sewer Boys.
If you’re still with me, then know that Dicks delivers on its demented premise, all powered by original songs that push so far past the envelope that the very concept of mail becomes taboo. And while any such exercise in extremes risks devolving into nothingness, director Larry Charles (Borat) keeps Sharp and Jackson’s filthy wit floating, moving the action with such a fierce commitment to momentum that there is simply no time for audiences to ask themselves whether they should be laughing at something so … wrong.
Dicks’ two leads deliver breakthrough-level performances, but it’s the film’s Broadway veterans who steal much of the peep-show. Mullaly is given permission to do things that the actress has likely never thought possible onscreen, and producers even made room for a small performance from her husband Nick Offerman as a MAGA-esque bigot who comes around to the other side. Lane, meanwhile, goes the Rated X-tra mile, delivering the kind of big-hearted, full-throated work that amplifies every vulgar gag.
Demanding a full audience of sickos to unlock the film’s true communal madness, Dicks: The Musical is destined for midnight-movie deification. Worship its transgressive power, or denounce it as unholy. The film thankfully offers no in-between.