The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009)

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009)

With his car lot struggling and in danger of being gobbled up by the competition, Ben Selleck (James Brolin) calls in a mercenary team of sales people.  Jeremy Piven heads the team of superstar car liquidators as they work to sell cars, save the lot and get out of town before they risk becoming personally invested in any of it.

The movie is formulaic and cliched, but for the most part it works.  Fast-talking sales team swoops in for the kill, looking to make their money on the back of a desperate business owner, but they find something more in this small town lot – something bigger.  Yada yada yada.  Anyopne who has seen a movie can see how this is going to play out.  Once Brolin and rival lot owner Stu Harding (Alan Thicke) place a wager on the 4th of July weekend sale, putting Brolin’s business on the clock, we know how all of it will turn out in the end.

The dialogue is likewise cliched.  What makes this work is the supporting characters.  Piven does what he does best and Brolin is surprisingly funny (if awkward), but David Koechner is incredible as the “business” side of our mercenary force.  Charles Nappier steals the opening sequence of the film as a gruff and grumpy salesman who hates his job and the people he has to deal with.  Ed Helms is a perfectly ridiculous foil to Piven as the rival businessman, love interest for the heroine and member of the local boy (man) band.  Will Ferrell has a walk-on role and dominates the handful of scenes that he appears in.

This isn’t a film for everyone.  It’s a troupe film that tries hard to be story-driven and, in that respect, fails badly.  But if you sit back and just watch everyone play out their roles, it’s a film that will make you laugh – a film that you can enjoy in spite of yourself.

Stars: 4/5

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