Dicks: The Musical Review: Megan Mullally, Nathan Lane, Sewer People And A Dream [TIFF]

TORONTO: Does “Dicks: The Musical” even need a review? If you’ve seen the trailer, you know exactly what you’re getting into, but we’re gonna give it our best shot. Already a cult movie musical before it even hits theaters (not a bad thing), this A24 production is adapted from UCB veterans Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson‘s two-person stage show “F**king Identical Twins,” which used to play in the basement of a New York City Gristedes supermarket before the pandemic. The idea it even got financed or that Larry Charles wanted to direct it is sort of insane. But when you see it, you’ll probably get it. Maybe.

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The setup is beyond simple. Craig (Sharp) and Trevor (Jackson) are successful “straight” salesmen for two different Vroomba parts companies (we’re gonna guess Roomba didn’t clear legal). When the companies merge, the two alpha males immediately battle to be the no. 1 salesperson, to the delight of their new boss Gloria (Megan Thee Stallion). They are both ultra-competitive, misogynistic, and narcissistic and constantly want to remind everyone of their heterosexual sexual conquests. When they finally realize they are identical twins, they hatch a plan to convince their parents to get back together so they can be a real family.

Thanks to the magic of wigs, Craig disguises himself as long-haired Trevor (wishing he had a lace front and not a shake and go out of the bag) and meets his mother, Evelyn (Megan Mullally), for the first time. Trevor does the same (in a noticeably bad short wig) with their father, Harris (Nathan Lane). Both brothers are horrified by what they find. Evelyn is confined to a wheelchair, has an insane number of tchotchkes, hasn’t left her apartment in decades, and casually discusses the fact her vagina “fell off” years ago. Harris comes out to Craig (actually Trevor) as gay for the first time and reveals his (paternal) love for two sewer people, Whisper and Backpack (obvious puppets), whom he keeps in a cage.

Oh, and Bowen Yang appears as the embodiment of God, and everyone sings because it’s an absurdist musical. Sorry, were you expecting something else?

Sharp and Jackson adapted their show for the screen and then collaborated with Karl Saint Lucy for the new songs in the movie (the original show had five tracks, the movie has 12). Song titles include “The Sewer Song,” “Out-Alpha The Alpha,” and, the euphoric closer, “All Love Is Love.” Megan throws down some bars, Lane is as musically hilarious as you’d expect for a three-time Tony Award winner and Mullally reminds everyone she has glorious pipes for days. Thankfully, Sharp and Jackson hold their own, especially when singing alongside their more revered co-stars.

It’s also obvious that Charles is having a blast behind the camera. He makes sure there are funny sight gags throughout the film, including a movie, er, porn theater marquee that says “X24’s Everyone, Everywhere Cums at Once” and a Jeffrey Epstein musical poster that asks, “Jeffrey, what have you done?” Charles is assisted by his two lead actors’ almost infinite energy, Mullally’s wonderfully obvious improvisations, and his decision to include moments where it looks like the actors are about to break character (this happens a number of times when Lane and Mullally are together).

Even at just 86 minutes, there’s a lot more we could reveal, but why spoil it? Sure, the story hangs on by the thinnest of threads, it loses momentum in the second act, and one or two of the songs are just a bit too repetitive. Then again, you’ll laugh. Likely a lot. Assuming you see it in a theater. With the right audience. And have an open mind. And you get that it’s gay. We mean G-A-Y gay. But, hey, allies saddle up, amirite?

To be honest, this is the hardest film to figure out a grade for in over 15 years of reviewing, but let’s go with…[C+/B-] But, if any of this speaks to you? Run, don’t walk to the theater. We may never see anything like it again.

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