A full-fledged musical that also happens to be one of the most transgressive and explicit movies in years, “Dicks: The Musical” is simultaneously crowd-pleasing and jaw-dropping. Directed by Larry Charles (“Borat”) and released by A24 after a period in development at Fox, it’s based on a 30-minute, six-song, two-man off-Broadway production by Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp, who star as long-lost twins who try to bring their divorced parents (Megan Mullally and Nathan Lane) back together.
You can think of it as “The Parent Trap” plus penis jokes, a flying vagina, acrobatic sex and a hefty dose of incest.
It also features Megan Thee Stallion in a small role as a fierce boss who fires our two heroes in the middle of a scathing hip-hop dance number called “Out Alpha the Alpha.” One of five songs that were added to the original show as it expanded for the screen, the number was originally written as what Karl Saint Lucy described as “a musical-theater cabaret number” designed as a showstopper for his actress friend Victoria Huston-Elem.
“She came down to the studio and sang the s— out of it, and it had high Cs in it and six-bar-long money notes,” Marius de Vries said. “And then we found out that they cast Megan Thee Stallion and she doesn’t sing at all. So we had to do a very sharp pivot very quickly. It took a large amount of reimagination.”
While de Vries and Saint Lucy reworked the original music into a hip-hop format, Jackson and Sharp tried to channel Megan. “At first, we were just sort of Frankensteining some of the old lyrics,” Josh Sharp said. “But later on, when we knew she was showing up, it became, oh, we have to fully make this a Megan Thee Stallion song. We knew her skill and her cadence, so we wrote things we thought she could do.
“But a lot of the lyrics are things she would never have said — I don’t think she’s putting the phrase ‘scummy sacks of cum’ into her own songs. She showed up on the first day of the shoot and was like, ‘People think I’m dirty, but y’all are dirty.’”
Megan also insisted on learning all of the choreography in the number, which finds her ripping into Jackson and Sharp’s characters with unseemly glee. “It really is a dream to have an international superstar scream at you,” Sharp said. “I recommend it.”
Of course, if the song manages to land an Oscar nomination, they’ll have to figure out how to make it acceptable for a prime-time network telecast. “Oh, I’ve already got an edit that works,” de Vries said. “There are a few lines that are…softened, shall we say? And there’s probably gonna be a few bleeps, but not as many as you might think. We’ll find a way of making it family-friendly.”
A pause. “Somewhat.”