DICKS THE MUSICAL | USA | 2023 | 86m | English
Directed By: Larry Charles
There’s no business like show business — except perhaps the business of selling the bristles and brushes for robot vacuums, a cutthroat industry that pits “confident heterosexual” salesmen like Craig and Trevor against each other on a daily basis. But before Craig can shove a hose in Trevor’s mouth and turn on the water, these two big-dicked blowhards come to the startling realization that they are fucking identical twins raised apart since birth.
Fortunately, these are the perfect conditions to mount an old-fashioned parent trap, and so the pair swap lives to restore the nuclear family that they have long been denied. But can love still bloom between their eccentric mother (Megan Mullally), who is so old she carries her vagina around in a purse, and their closeted father (Nathan Lane), who is obsessively preoccupied with cannibalistic, humanoid, underground-dwelling sewer boys? Hey, I ain’t bringing around a cloud to rain on their parade, not with songs this catchy and choreography that features Megan Thee Stallion domming worker drones as she lays down bars about how she “out-alphas the alphas” in her midst.
Yes, Dicks: The Musical is a full-blown movie musical and it is proudly queer as fuck. Narrated by God (Bowen Yang) and adapted from a two-man stage show by Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp, who turn in memorably manic performances as the titular twinsome dicks, this all-singing, all-dancing madness is also directed by comedy royalty Larry Charles (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Borat), so you can count on uproarious 11 o’clock numbers so unhinged, they go all the way to midnight.
TIFF REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus
RATING 4 out of 5
Dicks: The Musical is a raunchy and entertaining foray for A24 into the musical genre with a fun spin on The Parent Trap, brought to life by two scene stealing performances from Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally.
A24 has consistently pushed boundaries with their films, whether they be artistic or the audience’s tolerance for horror with incredible films like Everything Everywhere All At Once and Hereditary. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that they are the studio behind the raunchiest and most outrageous comedy of the year. And the cherry on top: it’s a full-fledged musical! Adapting their two-man live stage show, writers and stars Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp have conjured up a musical, comedic extravaganza full of showing stopping musical numbers, hilarious lines, Lane’s pet Sewer Boys, and jaw dropping moments that you won’t soon forget (I personally will never be able to look at deli ham the same way again after this film)!
In Dicks: The Musical, Craig and Trevor are the top salesmen at their respective companies, but when their companies merge, they find themselves in a head-to-head battle to claim the top honour. However, they soon discover that they are long lost twin brothers, separated at birth by their parents. In an effort to reunite their family and obtain the complete family they were deprived of their entire life, Craig and Trevor hatch a plan to switch places and make their parents fall back in love with each other.
If the plot to Dicks: The Musical sounds familiar, that’s because the premise is a spin on the story of The Parent Trap. But, Jackson and Sharp use the premise as a jumping off point for their ridiculous comedy caper, taking the plot in a direction you won’t be able to dream up in your wildest dreams. Numerous elements are added for pure comedic shock, such as the instantly iconic Sewer Boys and Lane’s Harris’s shocking and hilarious feeding of them, Mullally’s eccentric personality, and tough as nails Megan Thee Stallion as Craig and Trevor’s boss Gloria. There will be multiple moments where you will question what you just saw or heard, that may cause some audience members to get up and leave if they don’t have a high tolerance for raunchy and crude humour, because the film consistently pushes the limits, never for a second failing to fully utilize its R rating. At the same time, Jackson and Sharp ground the film with a message about love, acceptance and family that keeps the film light and ensures it is more than just an explicit, shock driven R rated comedy. Overall, it’s an excellent screenplay from Jackson and Sharp, that is packed with laughter that will ensure theatres are constantly erupting with laughter during the film’s 86 minute run time.
With Jackson, Sharp, and the film’s story having its roots in Broadway musical theatre, it comes as no surprise that the musical elements of the film are top notch. Jackson and Sharp’s song use classic Broadway stylings to create catchy show tunes that audiences will be humming long after the film, with standouts being Lane and Mullally’s duet “Lonely”, Lane’s introduction song “Gay Old Life”, and the showstopping final number “All Love Is Love”. The choreography for each musical number is excellent, keeping a grounded nature to them that could very easily be replicated step for step on stage, helping to create the feeling that the audience is watching a live Broadway musical. The sets weave into the musical numbers to great success, at times dancing along to the music as you would expect a Disney musical to do so, while many of them contain nods to famous Broadway musicals that theatre fans will have a great time picking out. It all comes under the talented direction of Larry Charles, best known for Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, capturing both the grand nature of the musical numbers and uncontrollable, raunchy comedic energy driving the film.
As the leads, Jackson and Sharp are good as Trevor and Craig respectively. They bring a true showmanship to the film, with very theatrical performances that will have you chuckling throughout the film. Megan Thee Stallion is an absolute scene stealer as Gloria in only a handful of scenes, bringing some serious badass energy that showcases her acting chops, while creating a show stopping musical number with “Out Alpha the Alpha”. And Bowen Yang is a great addition as God who provides a comical narration and commentary of the film throughout, bringing his larger than life personality that perfectly matches this wild film.
But, it is Lane and Mullally who are the stars of the film as Harris and Evelyn. Both Broadway veterans, Lane and Mullally have a grandiose presence that ensures you can’t take your eyes off them while they are on screen. Lane dazzles as Harris, the boy’s gay father with a flamboyant performance that is one of the best supporting performances of the entire year, delivering so many moments that you won’t soon forget. And when combined with his Sewer Boys, brought to life by incredible puppetry, they deliver the most unforgettable and hilarious moments of the film.
Mullally is a comedic wiz as Evelyn, capturing this truly eccentric woman. With a high pitched and crazy sounding voice, Mullally is a true comedic tour de force. From her brilliant improvisation that she unleashes consistently throughout the film that results in hilarious and authentic moments, her wild facial expressions and ticks that make Evelyn a truly unforgettable character, and her killer, straight delivery of some of the most outrageous lines I have heard all year, there is no doubt that Mullally delivers the comedic performance of the year.
There is no doubt in my mind that A24 has a massive critical and commercial success on their hands with Dicks: The Musical, confirming that there is no genre the studio cannot produce a hit in. Guaranteed to have you laughing uncontrollably from start to finish if you can stomach the out of control and insane comedy of the film, in addition to tapping your toes to the incredibly catching show tunes, Dicks: The Musical is an outrageously entertaining musical thanks to the sensational performances of Megan Mullally and Nathan Lane, and the unforgettable Sewer Boys that is destined to be a new cult classic!