Synopsis: A pair of business rivals discover that they’re identical twins and decide to swap places to trick their divorced parents into getting back together.
Stars: Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, Megan Thee Stallion, D’Arcy Carden, Nick Offerman, Tom Kenny, Bowen Yang
Director: Larry Charles
Running Length: 86 minutes
TMMM Score: (7/10)
Review: Throughout the Toronto Film Festival, all I’d heard about was the epic first screening of Dicks: The Musical. While the reviews of the movie itself were very mixed from the crowd, A24 had sent a live choir into the audience, throwing beach balls and other organ-shaped inflatables into the crowd. No screening could match that burst of energy, but being at the Midnight Madness People’s Choice Award screening, the last screening at TIFF23, was a blast. And you know what? The movie from Borat director Larry Charles (The Dictator) is a rip-roaring riot. Yes, it’s offensive, explicit, raunchy, wrong, cheap-looking, and tacky. It’s also bright, sharp, self-aware, and committed, with songs that have no right to be as tuneful and comedically well-rounded as they are.
Adapted from F—ing Identical Twins, an off-Broadway stage show by Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp (who also star), you’ll have to close your eyes and take a leap of faith with this. It’s not going to be for everyone (that’s putting it extremely mildly), but the cast is so game (like the astounding Megan Mullally and show-stopping Megan Thee Stallion) that if you go in with an open mind and open heart, you’ll likely wind up having as much fun, and laugh as loudly, as I did. And see it with a huge crowd… several jaw-dropping scenes deserve to be experienced with a group.
In the fantasy world imagined by Jackson/Sharp, the two star as Craig (Sharp) and Trevor (Jackson), “identical” “twins” that happen to live next door to one another and work at the same company run by Gloria (Megan Thee Stallion). It’s their first day in the new office, and when they run into each other, it’s like looking into a mirror (we’ll take their word for it), and though they begin the day as rivals, they end it as copasetic chums that figure out they were twins separated at birth. Craig was raised by his invalid mother, Evelyn (Mullally, Summering), who lost an important appendage she now keeps safe in her purse. Things are also weird with Trevor’s dad, Harris (Nathan Lane, Beau is Afraid), a gay man who keeps two foundling sewer creatures in a cage and can only feed them one way. You’ll have to see for yourself.
Through a plot ripped right out of The Parent Trap, Craig and Trevor decide to switch places (they are identical, after all) to meet the parents they never knew and see if they can get them back together again. Once they do, however, fate turns things sideways, as perhaps a different couple would be better off living happily ever after. A trip to the sewer and some divine intervention from a go-go dancer glam God (Bowen Yang, Bros) should eliminate confusion so everyone can have a gay old time living in harmony.
There’s something to offend everyone in Dicks: The Musical, and if you don’t leave thinking about at least one joke Sharp and Jackson should have cut, I’m not sure if the movie has done its job. Like The Book of Mormon (which, like Dicks: The Musical, has surprisingly excellent music) or South Park, the point in offending everyone and not just one group is to illustrate that everyone can be a target, and there is equal opportunity to laugh at obvious jokes that are meant not to be taken seriously. To ensure they reach the cheap seats, Jackson and Sharp stage a horrifically wrong finale that, if you hadn’t been hanging your head up until that point, you’d surely slump a bit in your seat. Remember, though, it’s all fun and games, and there’s a blooper reel waiting right after the big finish. Be brave. See this in the theaters. Get the joke. Don’t be the joke.