Dicks: The Musical, 2023.
Directed by Larry Charles.
Starring Josh Sharp, Aaron Jackson, Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, Bowen Yang, Megan Thee Stallion, Tom Kenny, Frank Todaro, Oscar Montoya, Sonya Eddy, Blake Daniel, Danielle Perez, Amy Jo Jackson, Nick Offerman, D’Arcy Carden, and Marius de Vries.
A pair of business rivals discover that they’re identical twins and decide to swap places in an attempt to trick their divorced parents to get back together.
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, Dicks: The Musical wouldn’t exist.
The goal of Dicks: The Musical seems to be to offend as many people as possible, but done so in a playful, wholly stupid, nonserious, cheery manner that makes it impossible actually to be offended. It’s the least offensive, offensive movie ever made, if that makes any sense.
Writers and stars Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson (adapting their off-Broadway play Fucking Identical Twins, here directed by Larry Charles of Borat fame) are unfiltered and having a blast mocking the typical straight white businessman alpha male obsessed with sex, with amusing text cards letting audiences know how brave these two gay men are for playing these roles. Whether they have anything to say is buried under one of recent memory’s strangest, silliest, WTF viewing experiences.
That’s also not something I say lightly, but it also certainly doesn’t mean Dicks: The Musical, a film where Larry Charles admits during a post-credits outtake that he is weirdly proud that one particular scene involving Nathan Lane’s gay father character tending to and feeding childlike monsters dubbed “sewer boys,” spitting food into the mouths of the dirty and gross-looking puppets, might be the most humiliating thing he’s ever done on screen, is a good movie.
Nevertheless, Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson play Craig and Trevor, two New York City dudebros who meet during a company merger, discovering that they are long-lost identical twin brothers thanks to a locket they each have one half. Followed by lengthy songs about the frequent sex they have, the size of their penises, taking what they want in life, and how no one can relate to them, they decide that to be a family, they must reunite Mom and Dad (Megan Mullally and Nathan Lane) and have them get married. That probably sounds simplistic and wholesome, but well, Mom is an eccentric motorized wheelchair-bound woman singing about her private parts, whereas Dad realized he was gay as soon as they split up and constantly plays up the stereotypes. And by split up, I mean that in the hospital where the identical twins were born, they chose to each take a child and never see one another again.
The above is not half of how irreverent and loony the story gets. There is no denying that Dicks: The Musical is a burst of singular zany energy, but it’s also an obnoxious drag even at only 86 minutes. Playing like a string of skits, each segment begins with a topic to skewer or characters/actors to embarrass, except the gags typically become overplayed when the proceedings transition into a small-scale song and dance number that exhaustively repeats the same jokes.
The mind sort of wanders as most scenes, save for the final song, a doozy about love, hit a joke, and then have nowhere else to go. Thankfully, the actors involved are committed (possibly too committed), but it’s never cause for endorsement when the songs of a musical are individually tiring. It sometimes functions better as a straight comedy (pun intended) without music, such as a crass and vulgar sequence depicting Mom and Dad reuniting in a restaurant. Similarly, Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson are also funnier when riffing off one another. Matters are not helped, considering there isn’t much visually remarkable when it comes to the staging of the musical numbers.
With that said, Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson have some truly warped minds, making it worth suggesting someone watch Dicks: The Musical just to see the look on someone’s face or hear their reactions to what’s happening on screen. Again, that’s not necessarily the same as endorsing a film as good, considering much of what’s here is also annoying nonsense that could have been refined without losing that manic energy. This is a flaccid exercise in eccentricity but shows promise for its demented creators.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com