With his sleazy grin, smooth talk, and falsely comforting eye twinkle, Jeremy Piven could sell oceanfront property in Omaha. As such, he is the perfect choice to play Don Ready, a maverick freelance car salesman summoned to help save a struggling dealership from bankruptcy. It's just too bad The Goods doesn't give Piven the opportunity to shine like those freshly polished cars he pushes so well.
Ready's sales team (including Ving Rhames, David Koechner, and Katheryn Hahn) is tired of traveling from city to city selling cars, but they reluctantly agree to join him in the quiet town of Temecula, California for this dubious challenge. Once there, they meet Ben Selleck (James Brolin), the frustrated owner of Selleck Motors. To avoid bankruptcy, he's thinking about selling the business to his daughter's fiancé (Ed Helms) who wants to remodel and turn the place into a rehearsal space for his boy band. Article continues below
Selleck Motors needs a great holiday weekend to survive, ideally selling every car in stock. At first, Don's old school sales tricks work. The place is flooded with customers on Friday. But many challenges await them as the weekend progresses, especially when Don starts to fall for Selleck's daughter (Jordana Spiro) and then learns he may be working with a son he never knew he had.
The Goods starts off on the right note, showing how calculating and tricky Don Ready and his team can be. Ready says things like, "I'm Christian... or whatever religion dominates the region where I'm working," and even convinces a flight attendant to allow him to smoke a cigarette on an airplane. But the movie quickly loses sight of its strengths and becomes sidetracked with subplots and side characters. It doesn't give Ready or his team enough of a chance to flex their manipulative sales muscles. What's a movie about sleazy car salesmen when we hardly get to see them sell cars sleazily?
The Goods does contain a few laugh-out-loud moments, but it also painfully stretches jokes and repeats the same punch lines again and again and again... to the point where you may be tempted to start throwing popcorn at the screen.
Furthermore, director Neal Brennan never finds the right pitch for the movie. At times The Goods seems to think it's Airplane, except with a dirtier mouth. But Brennan fails to reconcile the crude, cartoonish slapstick with human reality. There are too many things the movie takes seriously for that level of humor to work. The results feel choppy, awkward, and downright cheap.
There's talk in the film about a sales tactic that someone on Ready's team uses. It involves a salesman buying a used car from a customer, and then, hours later, convincing the customer to buy the car back at a higher price. That's a concept with plenty of comic potential – if only the film showed it rather than discussing it. Instead, The Goods retreats to its flying dildos and dirty jokes. Been there, done that.