Sunday, March 11, 2012

REVIEW: Goon (2012)

So I was watching Goon and starting to get a little bored, to the point where I got seriously focused on clipping my nails and then cleaning up the stubborn little dirt that keeps hiding under them, and I realized why I was getting so bored: I was dead sober. No, I didn't get skunk drunk to finish it off, but I did try to remember the way I felt  when I first watched  Slap Shot. Which I couldn't. Because THAT time I was skunk-drunk. Maybe, just maybe, it's because playing glorified Hockey violence for laughs just isn't a safe bet in this day and age.

As is often the case, the claim that the film is based on a true story is a bit of an overstatement; the only element of truth this has is the bare-bones plot: a no-education burly brawler becomes -almost by accident- an enforcer for his local Hockey team even though my grandmother's shiatsu drives better than he skates. The real-life goon is named Doug Smith, while his counterpart is renamed Doug Glatt AKA Sean William Scott. He's a no-brain bouncer for a local dive who gets into it with a Hockey thug and easily takes him out, which wins him an invitation to step on the ice. Soon enough the bigger club calls him up to watch over their wimpy super star, a French Canadian (why are WE always the goddamn wimps!) whose confidence was shaken by ageing thug Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber). As Doug impossibly leads his mates toward a playoffs spot, he also races toward an inevitable confrontation with the veteran he's pushing out of the game.

Maybe my dislike stems from the fact that right form the opening we're treated to an overindulging Jay Baruchel who uses his status of co-screenwriter to take off the gloves and allow himself every and any crudity and impropriety, as if exacerbated by having done a high-priced Disney Bomb 2 years ago and quite eager to give the mouse the finger. I like Jay, homeboy hails from my beloved Montreal and even filmed his first TV show in my hometown (which, ironically, was called My Hometown...) but right out of the gate he tries -way too hard- to position himself as the indie-movie version of Seth Rogen. Here's a tip Jay: everybody's sick of Rogen's shtick, so please clean up your act.

"It's not my fault! I had to do an entire film with Nic Cage and he f*cked me up!"

Or, as previously stated, maybe it's just the fact that everything centres around the glorification of a guy whose only possible talent is to beat the crap out of others. But he's not a bully, will the producers say, he's a really nice guy who just happens to break jaws very well. Sure, of course, right. But couldn't you ask someone to actually write you a movie? I mean with actual dialogue. OK, maybe keep one joke or two (the 69 Jersey joke was easily the funniest one), but overall... You know what, I know what's bothering me: It's not written by Kevin Smith. Ive been waiting for Hit Somebody for SO long I've subconsciously allowed myself to hope this would be View Askew quality.

Did I like something in it? Yes, I did. Liev Schreiber with a handlebar 'stash. The dude looks so cool with that ugly thing hanging form his nose it was enough to make me forgive the atrocious attempt at a Canadian accent. Want a tip too, Liev old Buddy? There IS no Canadian accent, and we certainly don't sound like we're all Irishmen raised in Australia by Austin Powers! But, you know, otherwise his solid, layered and even funny work is the saving grace of a film that should've been much funnier, and is quite frankly the funniest minor-league Hockey comedy since Slap Shot, but certainly can't hold a candle to the latter.

"Yeu therrrrrr, whut arrrrr yeu toaking aboot? Meye moastatch?!?"

Overall I'd say worth the watch if you catch it on TV or on promo night at the video club, but otherwise I'd suggest waiting for Smith's career opus (he vowed it would be his final film), which hopefully will get made before the end of the decade.

Final Word: 4/10

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