The opening musical number of the inspired, if uneven, Dicks: The Musical introduces us to its stars Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp who feel like they were unleashed from a mental institute right onto the big screen. They make an instant and memorable impression and it's easy to see why A24 helped them take their stage play to the Movieplex. Their brand of humor summons deep laughs from a wavelength not familiar. In fact, Dicks: The Musical is one of those wavelength films, think Wet Hot American Summer or Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar. You either are on that wavelength or you aren't.
Trevor Brock (Jackson) and Craig Tittle (Sharp) are corporate bros pushed to the extreme. They are rival business execs who brag about the sex they are having, the money they make, and how big their...well you know. They soon realize they are actually twins separated at birth. From there, Dicks: The Musical is basically a demented take on The Parent Trap as the boys try to get their parents back together, played hilariously by Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally. At the same time, they are trying to keep their spots as top salesmen for their new boss Gloria (Megan Thee Stallion). That is about as much plot as you should know going into the film. Oh yeah, and Bowen Yang plays gay God.
The plot is merely the frame on which insane gags and wild musical numbers are hung. Evelyn (Mullally) is a forgetful agoraphobic and Harris (Lane) is a closeted gay man. Both get wonderful moments to shine both in musical numbers that pull from their stage experience and one-liners. However, the prize goes to Lane for a feeding scene that is likely to go down as the funniest single moment in a film from 2023. It truly has to be seen.
While the musical numbers are fun and well-staged, even on a small budget, the film is at its best when it churns out quick one-off jokes. There are so many asides that had me giggling here and overall worked better than some of the bigger jokes. The brand of humor here feels specific and absurd in a refreshing way. The perverse joy the film gets out of pushing Mullally and Lane into odd arenas never tires.
Credit goes to director Larry Charles (Borat) for adding in cinematic, visual jokes that likely weren't from the stage version. The opening number for instance utilizes practical models, retro stock footage, and some low-budget effects to great effect. Charles also knows how to keep things moving. Dicks: The Musical is a scant 85 minutes and thusly never wears out its welcome.
This is not going to be a film for everyone as I mentioned at the top. If you aren't familiar with the Upright Citizens Brigade and that brand of humor, perhaps check out some YouTube clips before you go. For those fans of absurdist and shocking comedy, Dicks: The Musical will likely be a favorite of this year's comedies. I had a blast with it, pun intended.