When God (Bowen Yang) sees two virile young men plowing women, selling gears, and telling everyone they know that they do both of those things better than anyone else He ever created, He also sees their profound sadness. Because despite living their best lives, Craig (Josh Sharp) and Trevor (Aaron Jackson) don’t know love. Not familial love. One never had a father. The other never had a mother. And, as everyone knows, a one-parent home isn’t really a home at all. No, it’s borderline child abuse.
That’s the premise behind Sharp and Jackson’s toxically heteronormative satire Dicks: The Musical, directed by Larry Charles and based on the pair’s Upright Citizens Brigade stage musical Fucking Identical Twins. They may not look it (and the film makes forcing us to believe it anyway into a thing), but Craig and Trevor are brothers. Twin brothers. That’s why they’re so alike: straight down to the size of their penises. And if they turned out to be whiny baby misogynists without having an equal to push them even further down the road towards assholery every step of the way, it’s difficult to imagine what they’d be had Mom (Megan Mullally’s Evelyn) and Dad (Nathan Lane’s Harris) actually stayed together.
(Un)luckily for us, we get to see the (mostly) proverbial dick-measuring contest unfold in real-time as, in an act of kismet, the company for which Craig is the top salesman merges with the company for which Trevor is the top salesman. Add a woman boss (Megan Thee Stallion’s Gloria) with the lack of self-awareness, and abuse starts spewing out of their mouths as readily as breath to prove they must be related. Rather than stick solely to this narrative thread, however, Sharp and Jackson pivot towards depravity––the sights you cannot imagine on your own. Because making Craig and Trevor into dicks isn’t the endgame. That, my friends, is turning the parents who raised them into late-night, X-rated cartoons.
I could probably use that descriptor for the whole thing once the comedic reversal of having two gay men hyperbolically embellish a portrayal of two cishet men proves to be but an introduction to skit-like antics. You must applaud the duo for realizing (just like when cishet men caricature gay men) that the one-note gag only takes you so far. Eventually you need more intrigue to sustain a feature-length runtime, which they get from two very game and surely a tad regretful (if the end-credit outtakes are any indication) professionals like Mullally and Lane. The stuff these legends are made to do at the altar of debauched immorality is breathtaking.
Just saying the words “sewer boys” and “facehugger pussy” is enough to get your mind racing; you still won’t be prepared for exactly what those two things mean. I’m not even sure Sharp and Jackson could explain beyond admitting they came from a brainstorm session where the message blew past “there are no bad ideas” into “the worst idea is the best idea.” That’s how this whole endeavor operates, right down to a superficially sentimental message along the lines of “all love is love”––meaning something much less warm and fuzzy than it seems. And while it all might ultimately be a case of pure provocation, I can’t deny I wasn’t laughing the whole way.
Whether the result is “good,” however, is a much more complex question. I’ve seen people compare it to Team America: World Police with reason, but I don’t think the two films are all that close beyond their no-holds-barred attitude towards taboo. Admitting it doesn’t necessarily excuse it, despite what multiple jokes calling out its own poor wigs and puppetry attempt. It’s a cute, funny bit the first couple times that also devolves into laziness. The whole gets somewhat tiring, considering few (if any) scripts could sustain the level of insanity met when it’s at its best. Anything not dialed to eleven becomes noticeably dull by comparison.
Thankfully, Sharp and Jackson spun that toggle as hard as they could to try. And when they seem to realize they have come back down to earth, they make certain to test the system’s limits by approaching twelve. Thus I shouldn’t be surprised they are probably at their funniest when screaming––especially in reaction to whatever lewdly deranged act they’ve made Lane and Mullally perform with impossibly straight faces. Those two are the real draw, leaving all shame at the door to debase themselves for chuckles and guffaws alike. It’s enough to recommend Dicks, even if you find yourself regretting it too.
Dicks: The Musical premiered at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival and opens on September 29.