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The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (A Movie Review)

Updated: May 10, 2023

The Goods: Live Hard. Sell Hard.

The Goods: Live Hard. Sell Hard.


Starring Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, James Brolin, David Koechner, Kathryn Hahn, Ed Helms, Jordana Spiro, Craig Robinson, Tony Hale, Ken Jeong, Rob Riggle, Alan Thicke, Charles Napier, Jonathan Sadowski, Noureen DeWulf, Wendie Malick, Bryan Callen, Joey Kern, Kristen Schaal and Will Ferrell.

Screenplay by Andy Stock and Rick Stempson.

Directed by Neal Brennan.

Distributed by Paramount Pictures.  89 minutes.  Rated R.

Even if he didn’t show up for a typically witless cameo appearance towards the end of the film, The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard has Will Ferrell written all over it.

The silly cameo is not the extent of Ferrell’s contributions – he is one of the film’s producers.  I have the feeling this movie was probably developed for him and in the end Ferrell decided he didn’t want to do it.  (And how sad is it to be a movie that Will Ferrell feels is beneath him?)

Honestly, The Goods is a little better than some of Ferrell’s own starring roles – such as The Land of the Lost, Semi-Pro, Blades of Glory and Step Brothers – but that is only because the lead actor can actually act and he is surrounded by a very capable cast.

Not that The Goods is a shining moment in Jeremy Piven’s career.  Piven is on autopilot here, his super car salesman character Don Ready is like Ari Gold’s poor redneck cousin – different wardrobe and pay grade but the same attitude.  Still, Piven has made a living recently on sleazy, soulless businessmen, so this guy is right in his comfort zone.

Of course, he is not exactly introduced correctly.  The first real view we get of Don “The Goods” Ready’s sales technique is when he tries to light up a cigarette on a plane.  When the stewardess tells him that he can’t smoke, he launches into a self-important speech about American freedoms being stripped away and gets weepily nostalgic for the time that you could drink and smoke and call flight attendants hot stews.

I’m sorry.  I’m supposed to be impressed by a guy who is so selfish he expects to be allowed to smoke in a plane?  Not bloody likely.

Making it doubly unbelievable, apparently the stewardess and every single passenger on the plane buys his line of bull hook, line and sinker.  Not a single person thinks what about my right not to get smoked on in a tight enclosed space with limited oxygen.  Nope, soon everyone is smoking and dancing and making out and the stewardess is down to her bra – just because Don Ready wove a not terribly original line of bullshit.

Oh, okay, it’s gonna be one of those movies, huh?

It’s one of those movies where every other character has to hang on every last ridiculous load of crap spun by the hero, simply because otherwise there is no story?

Yes it is, and it’s a shame.  There is a funny movie to be found in used car salesmen – check out the early 80s comedy Used Cars – but The Goods does not have that kind of goods.

Too bad, because as I said before there is a very capable cast kind of wasted here, and the movie is not without some funny ideas.   Unfortunately, it is so desperate to be vulgar and shocking that it develops a sheen of flop sweat.

Despite the fact that they are working overtime to sell you on a creampuff, The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard ends up being just as frivolous and empty as one of Don Ready’s promises.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2009 All rights reserved. Posted: November 16, 2009.


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