The Weirdest Musical of 2023 is Secretly a Deranged Sci-Fi Movie
Campy, raunchy fun and two menacing gremlins.
In recent months, the newest film marketing trend has been to trick audiences into attending musicals. Wonka, Mean Girls, and The Color Purple were all musical extravaganzas, but their trailers hid this fact behind shots of dialogue, drama, or Timothée Chalamet saying, “Here we go, Mama.”
One 2023 movie made its musical nature very clear — but the true content of the movie defied any trailer treatment. It’s an all-singing, all-dancing raunchy spectacle, and secretly a heartfelt science fiction tale. Here’s why you should watch it now it’s streaming on Max.
Dicks: The Musical is a film adaptation of a two-man Off-Broadway show by stars Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson. The two (completely unrelated) actors play Trevor Brock and Craig Tiddle, two go-getter salesmen forced together after a corporate merger. Their boss Gloria (Megan Thee Stallion) instantly remarks on their (nonexistent) resemblance, and the two slowly realize they’re long-lost twins, separated at birth.
Taking after one of the greatest stories of all time, The Parent Trap, the two boys conspire to reunite their parents, elderly and eccentric Evelyn (Megan Mullally) and recently out-and-proud Harrison (Nathan Lane.) With the help of some pretty lackluster wigs, the boys swap places and learn about the other parent. Evelyn’s only friends are the tchotchkes she’s collected over the years, and Harrison’s only friends are two shriveled-looking foot-tall creatures he calls “The Sewer Boys.”
Though they start as just a jokey set piece, the Sewer Boys become a major feature in the movie's third act when they get loose, prompting the newly reunited family to climb into the sewers themselves and find them. It’s only the tip of the iceberg with this movie that features Gloria walking her employees like dogs, Evelyn keeping her genitals in a plastic bag, God himself (Bowen Yang) overseeing a twincest wedding.
With a title card proclaiming how “brave” it is for two white gay men to tell a story, the movie prefaces that this is a ridiculous movie parodying everything under the sun, from Broadway musicals, to performative “love is love” attitudes around queerness. The story is one of the most deranged viewing experiences available for streaming, but you have to admire the gumption.
Unlike most other parody musicals, Dicks: The Musical doesn’t rely on reference humor. While there are Easter eggs for the theatre kids in the room (like a poster for a Rent-esque show titled Time Share), you don’t need to keep your phone nearby to research every offhand comment. The humor comes from the absurdity of the situation, from Trevor and Craig making meta references and singing forlorn duets about how lonely they are.
This may mean that this movie feels like a fever dream sometimes, but it’s immersive enough that you genuinely get invested in these two identical twins who look nothing alike. They live in a world where there are no morals or consequences, and it’s honestly refreshing to watch some truly horrible people attempting to play out a classic plot among ridiculously campy characters.
A24 may be the distributor that brought us sci-fi classics like Ex Machina and Everything Everywhere All At Once, but even among those there’s room for a raunchy musical with a strange sci-fi subplot. Dicks: The Musical is an inherently alienating movie, but it’s very upfront about it. There’s no reason to hide its musicality. If anything, that’s the tamest thing involved.