in ,

TIFF23: Dicks: The Musical Is Outrageously Funny

Courtesy of TIFF

Is this chaotic pair behind Dicks: The Musical, Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp, insane? Their writing is. The oddball duo have landed in the spotlight with their masterpiece of grotesque genius at TIFF Midnight Madness.

With comedy legends Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally on their roster, Jackson and Sharp’s debut feature is a Godsend, and by God, yes, I mean the gay one, Bowen Yang. If you’re wondering how two nobodies got this obscene musical on the big screen, get in line because so are they.

At the Q&A following the screening of Dicks: The Musical, Jackson and Sharp stuck around to answer questions. This film was nearly a decade in the making. They began with an idea around 2011, took it to a tiny theatre in 2014, and somehow, they’ve made it here, and production was only 20 days. TWENTY DAYS. Most of what made it into the film was only two takes, but the roughness adds to its charm. You can see evidence of the production in the final cut: a shadow here, a boom there, the puppet strings, and styrofoam backdrops. It all contributes to the chaos and obtuse humour.

How does one describe Dicks: The Musical? It’s a raunchy queer spectacle that pokes fun at… everything. There’s nothing serious about the film and the story; it’s a really good time. It’s an excellent comedy and an excellent musical.

I walked out of the theatre thinking, when was the last time I laughed this hard? It’s joke after joke, a constant steamroll of comedy. Every performance is iconic. The costumes, sets, and choreography all contribute to the ecstasy of this rambunctious riot.

Dicks: The Musical, L-R Harris (Nathan Lane) holding Evelyn (Megan Mullally) from behind.
Courtesy of TIFF

I don’t know where to begin in describing the plot. We meet Craig (Josh Sharp) and Trevor (Aaron Jackson) is two men with identical lives, huge dicks, and terrible manners. They’re caricatures of the average straight man, the Wolf Of Wall Street obsessed, who thinks Ryan Reynolds is the hottest man alive type of man. We begin with a song about their sexual habits, work success and more. Their introduction is a wild opening sequence, and their introduction to each other is even more outrageous. Then, out of the blue, we’re struck with the appearance of Megan Thee Stallion, who plays Craig and Trevor’s boss, Gloria.

Megan Thee Stallion makes for a fantastic cameo in the musical. Her solo song, written by Jackson and Sharp, is a fun alpha woman anthem with brilliant choreography. I’m always up for seeing a man on a leash. Megan Thee Stallion’s comedic timing was on point, especially considering they only had her for two days.

Craig and Trevor, who look nothing alike but, according to this insane universe, are identical, realize they’re twins after hours at the office during a charming ballad duet wrought with uncomfortable sexual tension the two leads will carry throughout the film. Now that this ridiculous discovery has been made, we’re taken on a whirlwind experience not dissimilar to the Disney cult classic Parent Trap, even with the, at times odd, shallow background where our two leads almost look like they were superimposed into the frame, similar to the uncanny issues when Lindsey Lohan played twins against a green screen in the ‘90s.

These blindly horny siblings decide to try to get their parents back together because Trevor concedes, “a single parent home isn’t a family.” Daddy Harris (Nathan Lane), is an extravagant recently out gay man with two “sewer boys” he tenderly loves like sons. Mommy Evelyn (Megan Mullally), is a woman apparently in her 90s, a retired grave robber and perpetually horny even though her vagina fell off. Lane and Mullally play off each other in the most unhinged ways. They share a fearless comedic temperament that perfectly matches the unhinged currants of Dicks: The Musical.

I couldn’t imagine any other actors taking up the roles of Craig and Trevor’s eccentric divorced parents, even if Mullally’s lisp sometimes made it too hard to decipher what she was supposed to be saying.

From the streets of an unnamed city to the sewers of the same unknown city, Dicks: The Musical is a hysterical, depraved musical, and A24 is lucky to have sagged such a wildly unique project as their first feature-length musical.

Director Larry Charles (Bruno, Borat.) stepped up to the plate and encouraged Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp to go bigger, be messy, and have fun. The set fostered a healthy improv dialogue from its incredible cast of brilliant actors. I mean, who would shut down the wildings of Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally’s ingenious comedic brains?

As for Bowen Yang’s casting as God. Thank you. No notes. I want “God is a Faggot” tattooed on my ass. I’ll never be the same again. The closing number has permanently altered my brain chemistry.

Written by Isobel Grieve

Leave a Reply

Film Obsessive welcomes your comments. All submissions are moderated. Replies including personal attacks, spam, and other offensive remarks will not be published. Email addresses will not be visible on published comments.

A group of campers embrace

TIFF23: Finding Queer Joy at Summer Qamp

A hand holds a photo of newly married Deepak and Phool

TIFF23: Lost Ladies Is a Playful Romp of Mistaken Identities