Growing up in a religious household has taught me the value of discerning right from wrong. So when Larry Charles’ “Dicks: The Musical” first previewed in theaters, I knew I had to see the damn thing in its entirety, regardless of my preconceived notions of humor. “Dicks” is a satirical take on movie musicals and “The Parent Trap,” as it centers around salesmen Craig Tiddle and Trevor Brock who, after figuring out they are identical twins, switch places to reunite their parents.
What makes this movie funny is not necessarily its level of raunchiness, but how outrageous the whole concept is. The fact that Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson, two gay men, wrote themselves to portray successful, womanizing straight men. Not to mention performances that were actually Broadway level, a soundtrack full of bangers, the sewer boys, Megan Thee Stallion and (god forgive me) the twist ending that made me, my brother and the entire theater cry with laughter.
Dicks is not a movie you should go into for meaning or purpose. Sharp and Jackson intended it to be ridiculous, yet still left room for queer representation and female empowerment. Whether or not it broke my conscience is not the question, “Dicks” is one of those films I will be thinking about for a really long time.
First of all, to really grasp the beautiful mess that is this musical, we would have to start from the beginning. “Dicks” originally premiered as an Off Broadway, two-man musical titled “F—ing Identical Twins,” written by and starring Sharp and Jackson. The duo had absolutely no idea their silly little show would grab the attention of Borat director Larry Charles and transformed into a cinematic cult classic. There is even a post credits blooper scene with Sharp and Jackson giggling: “What are you laughing at?” “The fact that we’re making this movie.” It goes to show dreams can come true, even dreams that don’t match up to Hollywood standards.
Though Sharp and Jackson are the film’s leading players, it also shines with an incredible supporting cast. Broadway legend Nathan Lane stars as the twins’ gay and straight father (yes, you read that right) who adopted two ugly creatures from the New York City sewers and bird-feeds them ham (you read this one right too). Megan Mullally plays the boys’ mother, proving to us once again that she will do anything and everything for the sake of comedy. Even if she has to hold a clay figurine of her area down under.
The other Megan, the Thee Stallion one, is Craig and Trevor’s queenpin boss. She does it all, serves, eats and leaves not even an iota of crumb with her song “Out Alpha The Alpha.” Even beloved voice actor Tom Kenny joins in on the fun as both of the Sewer Boys. Jackson mused on having his film graced by legends at the Toronto International Film Festival premiere. “It’s just a bizarre casting miracle where we sent them the video of the stage show and the script and they all said yeah.”
As if this movie couldn’t get any more controversial, religion is also thrown into the mix. I have always pictured God as an old wizard who had the whole world in his hands. He was noble, full of wisdom and the parts of his beard that fell off became clouds in the sky. But “Dicks” suggests that perhaps God is not how we imagined him to be in our youth. More specifically he is gay, quirky and played by Asian-American actor Bowen Yang. Though the movie is not pushing towards a philosophical debate, I like this portrayal of God.
If you are looking for a film that presents healthy sibling dynamics, keep on looking. My mother asked me if there was anything, anything at all that was sweet or quirkily good hearted about it. My answer was a giant whopping no. It is called “Dicks” for a reason, Mom. I will admit the moment where Nathan Lane kisses his sewer boys goodbye to reunite with his actual family is surprisingly touching. And then we get the scene right after, which I cannot explain in full detail for the sake of modesty. And spoilers! But mainly modesty.
The film ends on a “W-T-F did I just watch” note as the whole cast joins together for a slightly problematic wedding ceremony officiated by God. The final number “All Love Is Love” is reminiscent of a congregational song, and it got me, my brother and the whole theater amped up and singing along.
In summary, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie despite its outrageous, slightly controversial humor. I believe I would watch it again if I needed a full belly laugh. That being said, this movie is not fit for a family gathering or your grandparents’ birthday party. If anything, it teaches one not to be like the two main characters, who are in every essence of the word, “Dicks.”