If you know me, you know that I love dirty humor and filthy jokes. No bit is too dark, no level of raunch is too much. Bring it on. So, in some ways I’m very much the target audience for Dicks: The Musical. And yet, for at least part of the film’s running time, it just wasn’t working for me. Until it finds its grove in the second half, it feels largely like filth for the sake of filth. I know it’s not, but it just came off more hollow than intended. That limits some of the effectiveness, which is a shame, considering how out there and hilarious some moments are.
Dicks: The Musical is A24’s first musical and they couldn’t have chosen stranger material. It’s certainly unlike any other musical out there. Whether that will broaden or limit its appeal remains to be seen. Those who appreciate camp and foul language will be in a better position than a more traditional member of the audience though, that much is certain.
Craig (Josh Sharp) and Trevor (Aaron Jackson) are business rivals, but share a complete and utter dickishness that borderlines on the absurd. As it turns out, when they meet at their office after receiving promotions, they realize how alike they are. Moreover, they realize that they’re actually identical twins (them not looking alike is just another joke). This gets them thinking about their parents, which each of them only knows part of, since they’re divorced. So, a Parent Trap type situation quickly begins.
The boys want to reunite Evelyn (Megan Mullally) and Harris (Nathan Lane), formulating a plan to swap places, hoping it will bring them together. Will it work? Will hilarity ensue? I won’t spoil the former, but the latter does kick into higher gear, especially once the parents are riffing onscreen. The plot is admittedly thin, but it’s mostly an excuse for bits and raunchy musical numbers, most of which do work.
Watching Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally have the times of their lives is a real highlight. Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp initially get on your nerves a lot, so it’s nice when Lane and Mullally show up. When they’re together, the ridiculousness fits so well, the movie goes to another level. Jackson and Sharp come on strong at the end, but their performances are a bit one-note. Supporting players here are very random, but include Megan Thee Stallion as their boss, as well as Bowen Yang as God. Yes, God.
Director Larry Charles has a surprisingly flat approach to the film, visually. He believes in the screenplay that stars Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp wrote, to be sure. Early on, it doesn’t appear like a move that will pay off. However, once the flick finds its footing, it’s clear he’s just getting out of the way of the jokes. It’s not too different from his style with Borat, but here, the lack of pizzazz to the musical numbers does feel like a minor bummer. As for the script, it’s hit or miss, but the hits are pretty big, which makes the misses more forgivable.
Dicks: The Musical is a movie that is destined to be a cult classic. Some will hate it, while others will love it. I certainly was caught somewhat in the middle, but it’s audacity and fun did wear me down by the end. If you’re looking for something different, it’s hard to find anything out there quite as different as this.