Seeking out the

5000 greatest films

in a century of cinema

Dicks: The Musical

Directed by Larry Charles
Produced by Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Larry Charles, and Kori Adelson
Screenplay by Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp Based on the musical Fucking Identical Twins by Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp
With: Josh Sharp, Aaron Jackson, Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, Bowen Yang, Megan Thee Stallion, Tom Kenny, and Frank Todaro
Cinematography: Michelle Lawler
Editing: Al LeVine
Music: Marius De Vries and Karl Saint Lucy
Runtime: 86 min
Release Date: 20 October 2023
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Color: Color

This intentionally stupid musical farce about two rival salesmen bros who discover they're identical twins separated at birth and then decide to Parent Trap their folks into reuniting was cooked up by Upright Citizens Brigade alums Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson, who turned their UCB showcase into a two-man off-Broadway musical hit called Fucking Identical Twins. The road from club to small theater to the Edinburgh Fringe or other equivalent proving ground is paved with shows like this. In the old days, the few outrageously inventive showcases that made it to the cinema screen would have been refined and developed into something far less ragged and amateurish than Dicks: The Musical. In many cases, this was not a positive transformation because the resulting film lacked the inventiveness or subversive spark of the live show. But in the best cases, the polished, well-produced version maintained what was special about the original concept while reaching and appealing to an infinitely more expansive audience. These days, for many creatives, the very concept of trying to reach a broader audience is equated with selling out.

Dicks: The Musical is aimed squarely at audiences that don't go to many films because they believe movies, and certainly movie musicals, are silly and contrived—so they only go out to something that seems to acknowledge the absurdity of even the act of going to a movie. Sharp and Jackson's adaptation of their stage show goes out of its way to ensure we understand that no one involved in this enterprise takes anything they're doing too seriously. Thus, this picture's ironic distance from any themes it explores is expansive. The film looks like it was directed and edited by a twelve-year-old kid who was just given his first digital camera and a free trial of Adobe Premiere rather than by Larry Charles, the former comedian and Seinfeld writer who helmed Masked and Anonymous, BoratReligulous, and a lot of TV. While I understand the appeal of the sloppy "we don't take ourselves seriously" aesthetic, I really do guys, all movies (even ones like this that look like they were shot over a weekend with a budget of $15) take up years of the lives of the people who create them, so I'll never understand the desire to make it appear that these creators and filmmakers don't take what they're doing very seriously. It always feels like a lie to me because, of course, they take this shit seriously.

Still, as much as I disliked Dicks: The Musical, I did laugh several times. I also didn't find the film an unpleasant experience to sit through. The cast is continuously funny, except for Megan Thee Stallion, who feels shoehorned in and painfully underrehearsed. These filmmakers may set a low bar for themselves, but, for the most part, they successfully cross that low bar. Compare how this picture achieves what it sets out to do with other low-aiming movies from the same year, like Theater Camp or Cocaine Bear, which can't even reach the shallow goals they set for themselves. Dicks: The Musical may be flaccid, but it doesn't suck.

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Like all intentionally dumb movies that set out to be camp classics, this musical about two identical twins separated at birth who decide to Parent Trap their folks into reuniting never engages, but it manages more than a few decent laughs.