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Getting the 'The Goods: Live Hard Sell Hard'

PHILADELPHIA -- Jeremy Piven's new movie, "The Goods: Live Hard Sell Hard," can be viewed as General Motors' big-screen bailout and a homage to used-car salesmen everywhere.

"The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard"
In this film publicity image released by Paramount Pictures,from left, David Koechner, Kathryn Hahn, Jeremy Piven and Ving Rhames are shown in a scene from "The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard." (AP Photo/Paramount, Sam Emerson)

PHILADELPHIA -- Jeremy Piven's new movie, "The Goods: Live Hard Sell Hard," can be viewed as General Motors' big-screen bailout and a homage to used-car salesmen everywhere.

"Car sales are down 40 percent this year, and this is a way to kind of have fun with it," Piven said during a promotional stop in Philadelphia earlier this month. "So many times, people try to find the humor in wherever they're at, no matter what their situation is, and that's kind of what we're doing with this."

The new movie from "Talladega Nights" and "Step Brothers" producer Adam McKay opens Friday and stars Piven as the fast-talking traveling salesman, Don Ready. Ready and his skilled sales team are called upon to save a folding used-car lot in Temecula, a small town in Southern California. Using shrewd tricks, sex appeal and skewed logic, the crew could sell a Hummer to Al Gore.

Fans of Piven's "Entourage" character Ari Gold on HBO will not be disappointed with Ready. In the series, Piven plays a sharp, profane Hollywood agent. Substitute the suit for jeans and the BlackBerry for a clunky belt and you've got Ready. Different styles, same work ethic and vulgar, confident temperament.

"They're both hardworking guys, but Don Ready is a character who lives his life on the road. He thinks living the dream is having breakfast in a strip club, and he sees himself as a rock star, as a road dog. Ari is more of a family man, his life's a little more stable," Piven said.

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Ready's style is less name-brand, too. Piven created Ready's seedy, home-grown look himself, choosing all the outfits his character wears in the film.

"He's just a character that I latched onto and I ended up going to vintage stores to create the look. I imagined him with a big rock 'n' roll belt buckle, jeans, vintage vest, western shirt and kind of a rockabilly-type of energy. I think he fancies himself a rock star."

Besides creating the look, Piven spent a lot of time visiting used-car lots to perfect his character.

"I think one of the great things about this movie is we'll all relate to it because I think we've all been on the other side of someone trying to sell us a car," Piven said.

But more fun than thrift-store perusing and used-car- lot research was working with funnymen Will Ferrell, Ed Helms and Ving Rhames.

"This is the funniest cast I've ever been lucky enough to work with. We all had really great camaraderie on set. Everyone's so collaborative and open," he said.

"They're just so genuinely funny and they're such pros that it raises your game."

From the subtle, quick ad-libs to the more outrageous situational comedy, "The Goods" offers laughs, groans and lots of sleazy, cheesy fun.

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" 'The Hangover's' an R-rated comedy that brought us into the summer and I think this is the movie that brings you out of the summer," Piven said. "This movie's not afraid to be exactly what it is. It's not a PC movie. It's a raucous R-rated comedy but it's the smartest dumb comedy you'll see all summer."

"The Goods" takes on a laundry list of politically incorrect subject matter from the redneck, white supremacist car salesman (Charles Napier) to the sex-starved, busty seductress Babs (Kathryn Hahn) who takes a liking to a 10-year-old with a pituitary gland disorder that makes him look 30.

So will Piven, the king of cocky, ever play a more vulnerable type?

"Absolutely. Mostly because you pretty much just described the real me. So the idea of playing a character who's closer to myself would be an honor."

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