Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Film Review: Goon

Certificate: 15 (brutal violence, non-stop language, some strong sexual content and drug use)
Directed By: Michael Dowse
Cast: Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Liev Schreiber, Eugene Levy, Marc-André Grondin, Kim Coates
Budget: $ n/a
Runtime: 92 minutes
Trailer: Watch

In a nation where they leave their doors unlocked and apologise to you even when they're in the right, there is one cultural practice which shatters the myth of the polite Canadian. That practice is ice hockey, a violent, brutal, uncompromising sport which provides the backdrop for Seann William Scott's latest comedy, Goon.

Genial but dimwitted Jewish bouncer Doug Glatt (Scott) is recruited for the local hockey team when he impresses the coach by head butting an opposition player. His talents for beating people up wasted in the minor leagues of America, Doug is given the opportunity to become semi-pro up in Canada. It is not long before he has to face off against his rival 'enforcer', the feared and revered Ross Rhea (Schreiber).

Writer Evan Goldberg should be a familiar name if you've seen Pineapple Express or the highly esteemed Superbad as his bromantic themes certainly translate to Goon. At its core this is a typical underdog sports movie, imbibed with plenty of comedic moments and more importantly, genuine ardor. What happens next is predictable, Doug meets girl, reignites team's fortunes, but it is executed to enjoyable effect. One mar is that the final third does experience a dip in tone by becoming more a traditional sports drama and less like a comedy, but it is not noticeable enough to throw the film completely off balance.

Nicknamed 'Doug the Thug', there's something ambrosial about the man who will otherwise break your face. He carries out his task almost apologetically, the kind of guy who will fuck you up, but then take you all the way to hospital and wait to see if you're ok. Most thankfully though Scott doesn't turn out to be Stiffler on ice, playing a character who couldn't be further removed from such obnoxious idiosyncrasies. He's a down to Earth fool who knows he's a fool, a gentile lug who's just along for the ride.

Liev Schreiber gleams as Doug's grizzled adversary while Eugene Levy's gravitas is a welcome addition. But it is Scott who is undoubtedly the star, giving an assured performance and showing off his range as an actor. When he's not all up in your grill he emanates a genuine warmth which permeates throughout the rest of the film. With a sharp script and some equally slick dialogue, Goon is a solid if not pleasing effort.