The Goods


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The Goods is a raunchy 80s-style comedy. In fact, it bears more than a passing resemblance to an actual 80s comedy, Kurt Russell's Used Cars. Both films feature a car dealership on the brink of a financial failure which can only be averted if the sales team can pull off an incredible feat while the clock is ticking. In both films, the team's failure will result in the dealership passing into the hands of a slick and despised rival. Both films feature a love story between the amoral hot-shot salesman and the relatively innocent daughter of the man who owns the dealership.

In the newer film, Jeremy Piven takes over the Kurt Russell role and does his usual Ari Gold thing, once again mining the lode of comedy inherent in the single-mindedness of the obsessively driven. That is both good and bad. Piven has that character down to a science, so the comedy works pretty well, but we don't really like him or any other character. The characters we are supposed to cheer for are as unattractive as the ones we are supposed to hiss, so we ultimately just don't care about resolution of the matter which is supposed to be the film's driving force - the question of whether the dealership gets rescued.

The film might still have clicked if the characters could have drawn us into the love story, but that didn't work either. That failure was not so much the writers' as Piven's. He just doesn't have the dramatic acting chops to convey any sense of sensitivity, sincerity, or vulnerability. When he tries, it seems like mock sincerity, Bill Murray style. Because Pivs always seems like a broad comic character rather than a real person, we just don't care whether he gets the girl or whether he gets redeemed.

On top of the film's other liabilities, there is a particularly ridiculous back-story involving the death of a sales colleague (Will Ferrell) who was willing to do anything for a sales event until he was killed while trying to execute a spectacular sales gimmick. This is less likely to make you laugh as to make you roll your eyes upward.

The failure of the plot/character framework is a shame, because the jokes are pretty good. While the gags sometimes swing and miss by an embarrassing amount, and there are no comic homers, the script overall manages to deliver a fairly good laughter average with a lot of solid singles. Mixed in among the tasteless or failed gags and the uninvolving plot, there's a lot of funny and cheerfully vulgar material that does work and could have been the basis for a top-notch comedy.




3 Roger Ebert (of 4 stars)
26 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)
39 (of 100)


5.8 IMDB summary (of 10)
B- Yahoo Movies


Box Office Mojo. It opened in sixth place with $5m, and finished with $15m.



  • Mary Castro shows her breasts in a strip club scene, with several other women topless in the background.
  • An uncredited actress plays a porn star in a film within the film.


Our Grade:


A lot of funny material mixed in with an equal amount that fails. I found it a watchable comedy.