What if Matt Stone and Trey Parker were gay and remade The Parent Trap as a musical? And what if the idea of two super straight (wink) separated-at-birth identical twins (wink) who want to reunite their parents and definitely do not want to fuck each other (wink wink) wasn’t bizarre enough so they add two little monsters named the Sewer Boys into the mix? The resulting film would look something like Dicks: The Musical, the mutant brainchild of co-writers and stars Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp. It’s possibly the most deranged movie of the last decade, which I mean as both a compliment and a warning.
Even by A24 standards, Dicks: The Musical is weird, like screaming-“WTF?!”-while-giggling weird. You’re looking at the person next to you and wondering if you’re experiencing folie à deux, especially whenever co-star Megan Mullaly opens her mouth and says the strangest thing you’ve ever heard on screen. With Dicks: The Musical, Borat’s Larry Charles has directed another film that is as likely to offend as it is to delight, and that’s not just due to casting SNL’s Bowen Yang as a very queer version of God. It is probably best enjoyed while not entirely sober, but I don’t know if my brain could handle the Sewer Boys in any sort of altered state. Yet if it is not your thing — either for its musical numbers, its absurd storyline, or because you’re a homophobic bigot — I can’t imagine a worse way for you to spend 86 minutes. (Though if it’s the last case, it seems like fair punishment for being an asshole.) Dicks: The Musical is the type of movie that could be divisive for audiences, if its title weren’t so clear about what to expect (other than the Sewer Boys).
Based on Jackson and Sharp’s Upright Citizens Brigade stage play Fucking Identical Twins: The Musical, Dicks: The Musical introduces Craig Tiddle (Sharp) and Trevor Brock (Jackson) the top salesmen at the recently merged offices of Vroomba vacuum parts. They instantly hate each other when they meet, and they jockey for position as the top dog under boss Gloria (Megan Thee Stallion). People keep commenting about how much they look alike (they do not), and soon they discover that they share more than just a knack for selling vacuum parts, casual misogyny, and feelings of loneliness: they’re actually identical twins. Craig and Trevor quickly shift their energies from their professional rivalry to reigniting their long-divorced parents’ romance, but dear old mom Evelyn (Mullaly) and dad Harris (Nathan Lane) will not make it easy.
Somehow the two nightmare-inducing Sewer Boys — the ham-eating, diaper-wearing little weirdos kept by Harris in a cage — aren’t even the oddest thing about Dicks: The Musical. That honor goes to Mullaly, who is fully committed to playing an impossibly old, lisping lady who never leaves her overstuffed apartment. The actress has always displayed impeccable comic timing, but her talents are on full display in this wonderfully weird, perfectly profane role.
Though Dicks: The Musical takes an irreverent (to say the least) approach to the genre, Jackson and Sharp (along with composers Karl Saint Lucy and Marius de Vries) display a clear love for musicals. The songs aren’t the most lyrically or vocally impressive, but they’re still catchy, utterly hilarious, and a good fit for the over-the-top style of the movie. Sharp and Jackson’s first number, “I’ll Always Be on Top,” and Megan Thee Stallion’s “Out-Alpha the Alpha” are the most likely to stay in viewers’ now-broken brains after they’ve left the theater, even if the latter isn’t as witty or as much of a showcase for her talents as Megan Thee Stallion’s own hits are.
The sounds that I made while watching Dicks: The Musical — alternately wheezing, choking, and snorting with laughter — were somehow even worse than the noises made by the Sewer Boys (one of who is voiced by Tom Kenny, aka Spongebob). The silly premise doesn’t fully sustain itself for all 86 minutes, but it comes close, and redeems itself with the rare funny bloopers during the credits. Its schtick should be annoying after a few minutes, so Dicks: The Musical sustaining that level of entertainment for over an hour is a filthy feat.
“Dicks: The Musical” is in theaters Friday.