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It's a do or die weekend at Selleck Motors and everyone, including Brent Gage (David Koechner), Ivy Selleck (Jordana Spiro) Don Ready (Jeremy Piven) and Blake (Jonathan Sadowski) knows it.

1 out of 4 stars


The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

  • Directed by Neal Brennan
  • Written Andy Stock and Rick Stempson
  • Starring Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, James Brolin, David Koechner, Kathryn Hahn, Jordana Spiro and Ed Helms
  • Classification: 14A

Entourage 's Jeremy Piven remains in hustler mode in The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard , a raunchy, fast-paced comedy that, nevertheless, is as flat as the tires on the old Volvo gathering dust in my garage.

Piven plays Don "The Goods" Ready, a used-car "mercenary" who travels the U.S. Southwest with his crew of veteran hotshots, liquidating sluggish lots for struggling dealerships by day and partying hard at night. When his services are called upon by Ben Selleck (James Brolin), whose Temecula, Calif., dealership is facing bankruptcy on the eve of the July 4 weekend, Don arrives more than ready to "sell the metal." But he doesn't expect that love, loss and a long-lost son will speed him toward an emotional meltdown.

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The feature directorial debut of Chappelle Show co-creator Neal Brennan, The Goods assembles a large cast of talented comic actors who make the most of their one-note roles. Don's crew includes Jibby (Ving Rhames), Babs (Kathryn Hahn) and Brent (David Koechner), all of whom deal with some kind of sexual "issue" during the long-weekend blitz.

Brent becomes the immediate object of desire for Selleck, a married man who is more than inching out of the closet. Babs develops a thing for Selleck's son Peter ( The Daily Show 's tall and strapping Rob Riggle), a 10-year-old with a pituitary problem -a lame joke despite Riggle's best efforts. And Jibby, a particularly useless character for the most part, just wants to "make love to a woman" for the first time (as opposed to having sex). Yee-awn.

Ed Helms ( The Daily Show , The Office ) steals the movie in his supporting role as the smarmy Paxton, the son of Stu Harding (the perfectly cast Alan Thicke), an imported car dealer who wants to buy Selleck's business.

Paxton is also engaged to Selleck's cute, smart daughter Ivy (Jordana Spiro), an annoying complication when Don becomes more than attracted to her. Ivy, who is not completely immune to Don's sales-floor smarts, is bent on finding out "what happened in Querque" (that is, Albuquerque), a tragic recent event Don's crew keeps mentioning.

Don finally relents and relates the story, which features a surreal flashback cameo by Will Ferrell. And it is pretty bizarre. Ferrell (whose company produced The Goods ) plays a dim-witted but lovable DJ who jumps out of a plane as a stunt to help Don, who, it turns out, handed his friend the wrong backpack. So we get to watch Ferrell, dressed in an Uncle Sam costume, falling through the air, opening a pack filled with sex toys, then deliver a truly odd stream-of-consciousness monologue. (He later appears as an angel to help out Don in mid-meltdown. But it's not very funny.)

The Goods suffers the same problem as so many other comedies made by TV folks: It gets stuck in one place (the used car lot) and is primarily a series of sketches, in this case not particularly successful ones. In the end, this film is like a piano falling on a car - it may sound funny, but not when it happens to you.

Special to The Globe and Mail

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