'Dicks: The Musical' - A Campy Twist On 'The Parent Trap'!
Many of us are familiar with the iconic Lindsay Lohan movieThe Parent Trap – it's the classic long-lost twins switcheroo. Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson had the same idea and wrote the Off-Broadway musical F***ing Identical Twins. Its adaptation has manifested onto the big screen as A24's Dicks: The Musical, starring Sharp and Jackson as identical twins, two obnoxiously competitive salesmen, who arrive at their new jobs at a sales company. They eventually realize that they are brothers and make it their mission to reunite their parents so they can be one big happy family again.
Through the hilarious lens of director Larry Charles – whose other notable works include Borat and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" – is born a cultish and campy musical where everything is a joke. Literally everything. The lighthearted tone and flamboyant style of the characters and musical numbers carry a high energy that is impossibly comedic and fast-paced. So, if you’re expecting a heartfelt re-remake of the Disney classic, you might be in for a bit of a shock.
Going into this movie, you need to be mindful of two important things: One, do not take it seriously. Two, do not try to make think to hard about it. This movie is filled to the brim with dumb jokes that are filthy and punny. They often do not even relate to the plot of the movie, existing as its own entity that the audience should appreciate in isolation. It’s this spirit of self-awareness that runs a throughline along the entire musical. It parodies tropes such as toxic masculinity, hardcore feminism, and catch-all phrases like “love is love”, all the while dismissing itself and being flamboyantly silly. While the musical seemingly touches on a lot of culturally relevant issues, especially in the LGBTQ community, it doesn’t aim to address them in any serious way. Rather, the issues are warped through a funhouse mirror, made into a punchline or simply exaggerated to an ironic degree for entertainment purposes. Take the Sewer Boys, for example -- The Sewer Boys are the prized “pets” of the father Harris (Nathan Lane) and they are creepy, weird, and utterly unexplicable. Harris waxing poetic about his Sewer Boys while breaking into song about being queer to his son isn’t even the weirdest thing in the movie. Evelyn, the mom (played by Megan Mullalley), gives an amazing performance as a kooky old lady who’s recurring punchline is to exclaim that her genitals have fallen off. What?! Topping it off with Bowen Yang playing God, the quirky and unpredictable characters in this musical are really what drive the show.
If there’s one word that encapsulates this musical, it is "camp". To be camp is to embrace the spirit of extravagance, as defined by the American writer Susan Sontag in her 1964 essay “Notes on 'Camp’”. This musical does just that. The musical numbers are over-the-top, and there is never a dull moment where a snide pun or dirty joke isn’t slipped in casually. The heart of it experiments with sexuality, in all its bizarre shapes and forms. Whether it’s Bowen Yang’s God cursing colorfully and proudly exclaiming that he is gay, or Megan Mullalley’s character pulling out her detached genitals from her purse to save the day, every single aspect of the film is wacky and unimaginable. If you feel like having a good old silly time, free of any judgment at all, head to your theaters to catch a screening of Dicks: The Musical!