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Review: ‘Dicks: The Musical’ Takes Show Tunes and Heteronormativity to Absurd Heights

The brains of Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp are in full whackjob form with an over-the-top rendition of The Parent Trap

“Wow! We’re twins! We’re fucking identical twins!”

There is nothing I can do to fully encapsulate the absurdity of Dicks: The Musical. The winner of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award for Midnight Madness, the film is entirely overblown, queer, and campy. It utilizes the word “fuck” more times than a Tarantino blockbuster. Yet, writers and stars Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp understand how funny that word can be as they place a different emphasis on it almost every time it’s uttered. Their casting choices, lyrical songwork, and slapstick befitting of an episode of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In make for a worthwhile project that will indeed have stoners choosing this would-be cult-favorite for their next couch binge.

Dicks: The Musical stars Jackson and Sharp as Trevor and Craig, respectively. The two “alpha heterosexual” males look absolutely nothing alike but somehow discover one another and believe they are identical twins. In a premise that would make Lindsay Lohan jealous, the two conspire to get their mother and father together again so they can be one big happy family. 

Except the newly bonded brothers underestimate just how bizarre their parents are, played by icons Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally. Their wheelchair-bound mother claims her vagina fell out years ago and enjoys her life as a shut-in amongst various tchotchkes. Their father is secretly gay and cares deeply for tiny vampire-like monsters he once found in the New York City sewers. But even if the two are lonely and utterly wrong for one another, the twins feel that “anything is possible if it’s forced!”

If the absurd nature of a New York City-set parent trap musical surrounding sewer monsters, homosexual conflicts, and freaks of all shapes and sizes doesn’t grab your attention, the supporting cast might do it. Rap superstar Megan Thee Stallion costars as Gloria, the twins’ boss and style influence. Saturday Night Live player Bowen Yang doubles as the film’s narrator and also as God, a dazzling take on a character that will give any conservative Christian the heebie-jeebies.  

Though every inch of Dicks: The Musical sounds like a fever dream, Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp have constructed possibly the quickest 86-minute film in cinematic history. Outstanding songs and an impossibly strong cast make for a fun, side-splitting time at the movies, complete with legends Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally belting notes to their hearts’ content. Directed by Borat helmer Larry Charles, the film is an ode to musical theater and gay sex that undoubtedly offends while simultaneously delights.

The only hiccup comes in the film’s third act, which accentuates incest as part of the twins’ journey. The latter part of the movie has some of its best song and dance numbers, but the concept sucks the life out of an otherworldly showcase of talent. The film’s climax, no pun intended, has its basis surrounding the song “All Love is Love,” an obvious play on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s famous quip, “Love is love.” It’s meant to give a nod to same-sex couples, but Dicks: The Musical takes a leap in the wrong direction. It’s still funny but cringy nonetheless.

Though some jokes and plot twists don’t land like Jackson and Sharp might expect, Dicks: The Musical is marvelously gay and audacious. It’s wildly bombastic, silly in all senses of the word, and more fun as it progresses. The ridiculous nature of the film’s characters will keep the audience’s attention, while some astonishingly terrible accents will make you laugh with every joke told. 

It’s an untamed adventure that’s more extravaganza than a linear experience.

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