Dicks: The Musical – Embracing the Madness

You will know by the film’s title whether or not you will be interested in Dicks: The Musical.

Written by Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson, Dicks is an outlandish and insane journey into R-rated comedy. Based on their own play, one can tell that this film is their labour of love, born from their own unique senses of humour. As a result, onscreen, the duo is firing on all cylinders in their desire to shock and mock with silliness and gross out humor.

Dicks: the Musical tells the story of Craig and Trevor (Sharp and Jackson), two competing businessmen who are determined to climb over one another on the corporate ladder. But, when they discover that they’re long-lost identical twins, the two decide to join forces in an attempt to reunite their divorced parents and attempt to rebuild their family.

Directed by veteran Larry Charles, the film may be a celebration of the insane yet the Seinfeld and Boratveteran manages to bring it to life. In Dicks, Charles unleashes his innermost impulses upon the screen with freewheeling glee. This is a film which features brash conversations about sexuality, wild musical numbers, flying genitalia monsters and, of course, Sewer Boys. 

Simply put, Dicks is bonkers in every sense of the word.

However, the film also carries itself with such confidence and enthusiasm that, in the wildest of ways, one can’t help but admire it. At no point in the film do the filmmakers ever second-guess themselves. Dicks is off-the-scale strange and raunchy but also remains completely unapologetic for it. Featuring a solid cast of veterans and stars that includes Megan Mullally, Nathan Lane and Megan Thee Stallion, everyone in this film fully commits to their musical antics, regardless of how eccentric. (Just wait until the scene where Lane feeds his Sewer Boys to understand the kind of commitment that I’m talking about.)

Everyone in this film understands the assignment. And they dive in with enthusiasm.

What’s more, the music actually really pops. Almost every number features memorable hooks as they embrace their inner Freudian ID. Written by Sharp, Jackson and Karl Saint Lucy, each number bounds along onscreen with energetic anarchy. As stage veterans themselves, Mullally and Lane bring presence and experience to their performances while Stallion absolutely slays what may be the film’s best number. (Though, you may not want to sing “Out Alpha the Alpha” or “Always Be On Top” out loud while you’re walking down a busy street.) Even the set design elicits images of Broadway through its intentional use of simple externals and solid colours

In all honesty, this is the sort of film that makes one wonder about the boundaries of comedy. Are there any topics that are off-limits? Sexual fluidity, the toxicity of religion and even incest are thrown at the audience with little concern about whether or not they’re forbidden. Even so, Dicks does seem to have its limits. For example, for a film with such a phallic title, one might expect graphic sexuality yet the film contains nothing exploitative, such as nudity or violence. Instead, the film’s wild nature seems intent on kicking down the doors of taboo simply to get people talking.

As a film critic, this is usually the moment where I would try to tap into a deeper meaning behind the film. But, in this case, it would likely be disingenuine. Certainly, Dicks manages to satirize such issues as toxic white masculinity, religious oppression and gender politics. However, by the film’s end, one can’t help but believe that Sharp and Jackson have few designs at any particular agenda. Instead, this is a film that is gives these two young men the opportunity to play in their sandbox with aggressive goofiness and little disregard for cultural ‘rules’. With an eye on musical stereotypes, Dicks attempts to blow them up with the cartoon madness. 

But, in the strangest of ways, one has to sort of admire them for that. 

Dicks: The Musical knows that it’s insane, commits to the madness and cares a little for your approval. While this will not to the taste for many, one can’t deny that it is a sight to see. For every moment that disturbs, there are many others that are very funny. (Frankly, some of the most ridiculous banter within the film is top-notch writing.) But make no mistake: Be sure that you know what you’re in for before you jump into the sewers with these boys.

Dicks: The Musical is available in theatres on Friday, October 20th, 2023.

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