Audiences will get a filthy good time with ‘Dicks’

From left, Josh Sharp, Bowen Yang and Aaron Jackson in ‘Dicks: The Musical.’
From left, Josh Sharp, Bowen Yang and Aaron Jackson in ‘Dicks: The Musical.’ (Photo: Courtesy of A24)

A flying animated vagina may be the last thing one might expect from a film entitled, “Dicks: The Musical,” but there is one and it appears twice. Surprisingly, there are no singing penises. But nothing is what it seems in this irreverent experience, written and performed by Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp, two gay men, a title card explains, bravely playing heterosexual twins (despite not looking at all alike). Even God (Bowen Yang) offers up a “F—k you” to anyone who suggests these very different men are not from the same egg. A silly running gag has them each calling themselves by their twin’s name instead of their own.

The plot, which is based on Jackson and Sharp’s 30-minute production, “F***ing Identical Twins,” is very simple. Two brothers, Craig (Sharp) and Trevor (Jackson), are both top salesmen at Vroombas, a company that sells parts, not products. When their offices merge, they unexpectedly discover that they are long lost identical twins. One grew up with their mother, Evelyn (Megan Mullally), and the other with their father, Harris (Nathan Lane). They quickly conspire to pose as each other and trick their agoraphobic parents to get back together (a la “The Parent Trap”) and have the family they always wanted.

The trouble is that Mom is a kooky old eccentric lady, and Dad is “queer as a $3 bill, and just as thin.” Dad also has “The Sewer Boys,” Whisper and Backpack, two strange-looking creatures that live in a cage in his apartment. Watching Lane feed them is both disgusting and hilarious, and the more time he spends doing this unwatchable act, the funnier the bit gets. 

“Dicks: The Musical” is gleefully, irrepressibly unsubtle, and anyone with delicate sensibilities should probably steer clear. But the film is full of clever little jokes, from a butcher shop named “Bloodshed,” to movie posters for “Lube” (a “Grease” knockoff). There is also an obscene marquee, among other amusing sight gags in the film. 

The songs are fantastic. Jackson and Sharp know musical theater and have some very clever lyrics for their high energy, low-brow tunes. The opening number, “I’ll Always Be On Top” is as catchy as it is naughty. Likewise, “Out Alpha the Alpha,” — a showstopper performed by the twins’ boss, Gloria (Megan Thee Stallion, stealing every scene) — is a feminist manifesto that features an inventive dance sequence. It is so much fun that it hardly matters how little it has to do with the plot. But “Dicks: The Musical” also includes a melancholic ballad, “Lonely,” sung by Mullally and Lane that is oddly moving in this otherwise very broad comedy.

Megan Thee Stallion in ‘Dicks: The Musical.’
Megan Thee Stallion in ‘Dicks: The Musical.’ (Photo: Courtesy of A24)

Not everything works so well. A set piece where Craig and Trevor watch their parents reconnect over a dinner is a bit strained. Mullally and Lane mug a bit too much in this sequence, which involves clumsy physical humor, as when Evelyn starts choking and Harris has to give her the Heimlich maneuver. In contrast, a scene of them embracing and one asking, “What are we going to do with the boys?” and the other responding, “Should we drown them in the bathtub?” generates a chuckle. What does happen, however, is that Evelyn and Harris kidnap their sons, and everyone ends up in the sewer. 

“Dicks: The Musical” doesn’t need to go to the sewer for its humor as there is plenty of raunchiness above ground. (See the aforementioned flying animated vagina). The songs and dialogue are often quite filthy, full of bodily functions and fluids, that there is something guaranteed to offend everyone. But the film is so aggressively upbeat, it is hard to be appalled even with Craig and Trevor singing about what they plan to do to each other’s sphincters.  

And if this is not outrageous enough, the big finale has Bowen Yang and the twins performing the song, “All Love Is Love,” which features the lyric, “God is a Faggot,” complete with audience sing-along titles. It’s oddly sweet, given the transgressions on display. And God’s gayly pornographic robe is actually not the most shocking thing on display in this particular sequence. 

The performances are appropriately go-for-broke, and the actors go all in. Nathan Lane is utterly refined performing “Gay Old Life,” and Mullally holds a note in one song that is downright impressive. Their characters are weird, but they lean into oddball humor without embarrassment. Lane’s affection for the Sewer Boys is as sincere as it is creepy, and Mullally is obviously having a ball as the wacky Evelyn. A scene of her pointing to something she wants Craig (posing as Trevor) to get for her is funny inanity.

Both Jackson and Sharp are terrific in their big screen debuts; they have an infectious energy that proves irresistible as it induces laughs.

That said, this film is decidedly not for all tastes. But for those who like a filthy good time, “Dicks: The Musical” is inspired lunacy.

From left, Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally in ‘Dicks: The Musical.’ (Photo: Courtesy of A24)
From left, Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally in ‘Dicks: The Musical.’ (Photo: Courtesy of A24)
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