Review: ‘Dicks: The Musical’ is the funniest film of the whole year

The new musical comedy from A24 and director Larry Charles called Dicks: The Musical is a spectacular success of ridiculous raunchiness and plays out like the most twisted version of The Parent Trap you can imagine. When it comes to movie genres, musicals is one of the trickiest to pull off, successfully. The art of combining music, singing, dancing, choreography, and lyrics into a narrative feature film in a way that flows naturally within the context of the movie is a skill that very few possess. And whether the songs and dances are even any good is another matter entirely. I kid you not when I say Dicks: The Musical is not only the funniest damn film of the year, but there are a couple of scenes that hit so hard I’m surprised I didn’t give myself a hernia from laughing so much. 

This is not a musical for grandma and grandpa

While a few of the jokes are specially tailored for the arthouse and cinephile audiences, plenty of crude, Family Guy-style humor is served up for general audiences, platter after platter. You wouldn’t want to watch Dicks: The Musical with your grandma and grandpa over the holidays unless they’re the coolest grandparents ever.. Despite the name, you should give this movie a chance. There’s about as much fun as you can have with a moviegoing experience this year. You‘re bound to have a ball riding these Dicks, and the insanity of The Musical numbers is to die for in this new comedy.

The story of Dicks: The Musical

[Editor’s note: There are mild spoilers ahead for Dicks: The Musical.]

This exercise in musical vulgarity begins with some audio of monks chanting. At the same time, some onscreen text informs us, “The following film was bravely written by two homosexuals, the first time gay men have ever written anything.” 

We then hear a voiceover from God (Bowen Yang), who’s dressed in matching sparkling shorts, an open vest, and a chauffeur’s hat that looks like a disco ball threw up all over them. God informs us, amongst other things, that we’re in New York City, population of one hundred, a land of CEOs, VIPs, and STIs. But from there, the film jumps right into its first musical number. It’s precisely what you’d expect from a movie with this title. Two gay men are playing straight men as they have intimate relations with women and then sing about the size of their genitalia.

Grown up humor with extreme and over the top obscenity

God informs us that the two men that our story is about are identical twins. Because we’re not inclined to believe him based on their appearance differences, God tells us to f—- ourselves. We first meet Craig (Josh Sharp) and, subsequently, Trevor (Aaron Jackson), as we see the backs of ladies riding them, then the camera moves over the top of them and pans down to avoid any sensitive areas, but we get to see the two men’s clownish O faces. If you haven’t grasped the extreme and over-the-top obscenity that this film aims for and decided whether it’s for you, then I’m not sure what to tell you. 

Speaking of over the top, the name of the first musical number is I’ll Always Be On Top. Besides the sexual innuendo running amuck, Sharp and Jackson’s characters brag about being rich and successful salesmen at the company they both happen to work for, where Gloria (Megan Thee Stallion) manages.

Mom and dad are Mullally and Lane

As we continue to learn about these two brothers via another song, we discover that these twins were separated at birth. Today is the day they finally meet and realize they were born in the same year, on the same day, only one minute apart. Once they realize they are brothers, they are immediately intrigued as to why their mother and father split up and kept them from each other.

So Craig goes to meet his eccentric and neurotic mom, Evelyn (Megan Mullally), who, the longer Craig spends with her, begins to sputter out completely nonsensical things about herself. In the meantime, Trevor goes to meet his father Harris (Nathan Lane), a seemingly chic and well-put-together man, until the revelation that he’s housing a couple of pets he refers to as his “sewer boys,” which I will not get into detail about here.

The film’s tipping point

This moment with Lane’s character is about when things tip over, and the film’s absurdity goes completely off the rails. But once you’ve bought in that this is where we’re at, some plot points are absolutely bonkers funny. After a couple more songs, the twins reconvene and recognize that they would dearly love it if their two certifiably need-to-be-in-a-psychiatric-facility parents would reunite and be one big happy family again. (Again, echoing Lindsay Lohan’s The Parent Trap.)

There’s no need to explain further. What I’ve described up until this point is as much as you’d need to hear: either this movie will work for you or won’t. But for those who get a kick out of some quirky and crude humor, this film absolutely slaps.

Top-tier comedy that starts in the screenplay

Firstly, to give credit where credit is due, this screenplay by Sharp and Jackson is a top-tier comedy. While the paper-thin plot is in place to allow the hilarity of some of these songs and musical sequences to shine through, there can be no denying how well thought out some of the musical numbers are. Some humorous moments land so hard. Granted, some of these bits, jokes, and songs are simply there for the shock value, leaving you reeling and saying, “I can’t believe they went there,” over and over again.

But some of the plot points about sewer boys and flying vaginas are so insane and ridiculous that you have to wonder what the people at A24 were smoking when they greenlit this movie. As far as the direction from Larry Charles, it’s perfectly adequate, but it’s clear that the two creative minds behind the script and starring in the film are the reason it finds success. 

Comic performances that slay

The two leads, Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp, are not the most incredible dancers ever, but they’re both highly talented comedians and deliver some of the expressions and line deliveries that just slay. Nathan Lane is his usual hilarious self, too, although this film pushes his craziness limits. Stay during the credits for an outtake with him. That is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. 

Regarding the production budget for movie musicals, this is not one of the upper-tier films. Most of dance productions, like the one at Craig and Trevor’s office, are relatively simple. The dancers and choreography, only sometimes  in complete synchronization, match the modest sets. But little of this matters. We’re not here for Moulin Rouge; we’re here for a good time, and if there’s one thing Dicks: The Musical delivers, it’s exactly that.

Final thoughts on Dicks: The Musical

The bottom line is this was the funniest film of the year for me and although it won’t necessarily make my favorite films of 2023, it is my favorite comedy. If the insanity of what I’ve described sounds like it might be your cup of tea, don’t be afraid to pay for some good Dicks: The Musical.

Dicks: The Musical is now streaming

Dicks: The Musical is now streaming. Check it out on whatever platform you like to get your media.

Have you watched Dicks: The Musical yet? Share your thoughts by commenting below or by joining the conversation on X @MoviesWeTexted.

Are you an A24 fan? Read our review of Priscilla, the latest film by Sofia Coppola.  If you’re still looking for something to watch and want films that are likely to be awards contenders, check out our new Awards category.

If you like music and music history, read our review of Netflix’s This is Pop – Philly Edition.