Dicks: The Musical
October 13th, 2023
MOVIE: DICKS: THE MUSICAL
STARRING: AARON JACKSON, JOSH SHARP, NATHAN LANE, MEGAN MULLALLY
DIRECTED BY: LARRY CHARLES
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 2 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
The notoriously independent and historically daring production company of A24 takes a stab at a musical in the most A24 way. Dicks: The Musical is certainly a way to do it. Audiences will remember it, not humming the songs or playing the soundtrack on Spotify, but it won’t leave your consciousness anytime soon. It was originally an improv show, from the minds of Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp, performed in New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade, under the title Fucking Identical Twins. Now it arrives on the big screen, with more budget, a bigger cast, and the same carefree attitude that thought up something this outrageous. The result is commendable, with some solid laughs, an inventive spirit, and jokes that dry up at the end. One thing is for sure, Dicks: The Musical won’t be for everyone, but it won’t be forgotten.
Not wasting time, there is an opening statement, about the two very gay leads who will be playing two very heterosexual men. It’s followed by a song and dance number from Craig (played by Sharp) and Trevor (played by Jackson), boasting about their great sexual prowess, their greatness at sales, and expectations to impress new boss lady Gloria (a quite bad-ass Megan Thee Stallion). After some dick measuring set to music, the two start to realize they have much in common, including a necklace with a half-heart, which connects together, confirming that they are actually identical twins, whose parents Evelyn and Harris (played wonderfully by Megan Mulally and Nathan Lane) had separated when they were young. The next move is a Parent Trap-style plot for the two twins (which look nothing alike I remind you) switching places with mom and dad in hopes of bringing the family together again.
What is evident quite early is that Dicks is filled with the same comedic spirit of films such as South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut, Tropic Thunder, and director Larry Charles’ previous film Borat. It may not achieve the same amount of laughter, but it can’t be blamed for not trying, and for many, the humor will go a long way. What also makes the humor feel commendable is the often smart improvisational writing of Sharp and Jackson, along with a cast of actors more than suited for this type of Broadway spirit. Even when the jokes aren’t landing, the presence of Mullally and Lane feels like a stamp of thespian approval. They also play their roles with such ridiculously straight faces that you marvel at how great they can be in anything.
The minor issues with Dicks ultimately do drag the experience down, where the brisk run-time of 86 minutes still feels long, and the comedy will only reach certain communities of the world that you might feel outside of the bit. A pair of creepy, low-rate monster puppets called “The Sewer Boys” arrive as pets to Lane’s Harris, and although their obscurity is clearly the point, it felt like an inside joke that I had no prior knowledge of. But not all the comedy is like that and Dicks has a memorable ending, with a wonderful Bowen Yang, that delightfully pokes fun at both religion and the all-encompassing phrase of “all love is love”. That segment alone might be worth the price of admission.
In the end, Dicks: The Musical will not be for everyone and can hardly be called a musical, but that still can’t erase its spirit or ingenuity. Oddly enough more studios should be taking a risk on creative artists such as this. It won’t land on any end-of-the-year lists but it won’t go unnoticed. Sharp and Jackson are a whip-smart pair of creative comedy writers. When they have the next major breakthrough we can remember that before that moment they were just a couple of Dicks.
DICKS: THE MUSICAL IS PLAYING IN ALL THEATERS WORLDWIDE FRIDAY OCTOBER 20TH, 2023.
2 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady