Dicks: The Musical Review: Aaron Jackson & Josh Sharps Unforgettably Zany Film Debut Toronto Film Festival
Flesh-eating sewer monsters, genitals with wings, grave robbing, two confused “identical twins” and 90 minutes of sexual innuendo is what you can expect from comedians Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp’s stage show-turned-movie. Directed by Larry Charles and written by and starring the duo, the film also features Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, Megan Thee Stallion and Bowen Yang. As a viewer, I often wondered how the hell this got turned into the movie because it is so outrageous. Thankfully, it succeeds at being fun and funny because anything less would have amounted to torture.
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In a wicked exploration of twinhood and identity, we’re introduced to the not-so-identical twins, Craig (Sharp) and Trevor (Jackson). These two have a rather crazed introduction, diving headfirst into the world of aggressive heterosexuality. Although they strut around NYC’s corporate scene under the reign of CEO Gloria (Megan Thee Stallion), the film juggles time periods with its playful b-roll choices to disorient the viewer.
Their banter paints them as two peas in a pod, separated at birth. Their endearing parental reveal — think charming lockets and family history — paves the way for their reunion and the wacky scheme to mend their estranged family. Mama Evelyn (Mullally) emerges as a delightful, bohemian, who doesn’t even remember what time person she’s living in, while Dad Harris (Lane) is every bit the Monopoly man, but with a zany twist: his crew of sewer-dwelling creatures he keeps locked in a cage. The twins decide the best course of action to get their parents back together so they can live one twisted happily ever after.
This deranged spectacle draws inspiration from the pair’s offbeat NYC comedy act F*cking Identical Twins, which in this iteration is infused with the unique flair of Yang as god. Despite the film’s humor, it confronts pressing societal issues such as consent, workplace harassment and toxic masculinity, reminding us that sometimes, laughter is our best defense against these grim realities. However, the story does balance that with other visual commentary on adulthood and the nostalgia of missed childhood moments.
As silly as Dicks is, the musical production by Marius De Vries is strong and well organized, and the two lead voices mesh well together. Can you imagine how good that script must have been to get two legends of musical theater via Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally and megastar Megan Thee Stallion? Understand, this is from two guys who have never made or starred in a film before.
I am still trying to decode the ending musical numbe,r which is so damn ridiculous it left me speechless. The message is “love is love,” but it manifests in the most absurd fashion that I can’t tell if it’s a nod to how crazy people appear when they attach all of the various derogatory meanings to the LGBTQ community that aren’t real. Or is it shock value gone awry? Where is the line drawn?
One thing to give A24 props for is it’s not afraid to attach itself to radical concepts and ideas. Love it or hate it, the pic carves a niche as the deranged minds of Jackson and Sharp’s zany creativity ensure something quite unique. It’s meant to piss off a certain demographic of people, and it will succeed at doing so, but there’s no denying that Dicks: The Musical is a hilarious romp and enhanced by watching it with a crowd of loud queers in the audience.
Title: Dicks: The Musical
Festival: Toronto Film Festival (Midnight Madness)
Release date: September 29, 2023
Director: Larry Charles
Screenwriters: Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp
Cast: Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, Megan Thee Stallion, and Bowen Yang
Running time: 1 hr 26 min
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