18 sept. 2013

My Review: Goon (5/10)

"Everybody loves the soldiers until they come home and stop fighting."

Goon is a Canadian sports comedy directed by Michael Dowse who has quite a big cult following in Canada due to his 2002 feature film, Fubar. Goon was received really well by critics due to its slapstick and vulgar style of comedy, but I really found this film rather dull. I don't remember laughing once and despite having a strong performance from Seann William Scott (probably the best of his career) I couldn't manage to feel a connection with this sports film. I am a huge sports fan and tend to like these films despite the cliches, but Goon lacked something and it failed to draw me into the story or make me care for these characters. The violence in this comedy is way over the top and the hockey sequences were pretty great, but aside from that I didn't enjoy most of this film. It was just OK but nothing I would be recommending. Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg (who has written much funnier work with Superbad and Pineapple Express) adapted the screenplay from Adam Frattasio and Doug Smith's book "Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey." The film is loosely based on Smith's hockey experience as a minor league player and there are a few other references to some other hockey players for the more enlightened hockey fans. Despite not being a huge hockey fan I do like the sport, but this film worked more as a crude slapstick comedy than an actual hockey drama. I wanted to laugh, but I just never found this film as hilarious as so many others have. They've gone as far as calling this the Slap Shot (Hill's classic 70's film) of this generation, but I don't even think this ranks among the top 10 sports comedies I've seen this decade. The only thing it has in common with that film is the sport. The film is ugly and bloody, and I never found those scenes funny. This isn't your typical William Scott sort of comedy, it is very different, and despite this being his best work I couldn't enjoy as much as I wanted to. I thought the love story between him and Alison Pill's was pretty heartwarming, but I would've liked to see some more of that relationship. 

Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) works as a bouncer in a small bar which is an underachievement considering he comes from a family of doctors. His father, Dr. Glatt (Eugene Levy), is not very content with his decision of not wanting to attend college and he is always comparing him to the rest of the family. But Doug knows he isn't smart and doesn't seem to find his place in life. He loves hanging out with his best friend, Pat (Jay Baruchel), a foul mouthed hockey obssesed fan, and the two of them enjoy watching hockey goon, Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber), who they really admire. One night, at a local minor league hockey game Doug gets in a fight with one of the hockey players and the coach of the Highlanders decides to invite him to the tryouts. Despite not having any hockey skills whatsoever, he catches the coach's eyes thanks to his great fighting skills. He also catches Eva's (Alison Pill) eyes in a bar one night and they become romantically involved. Doug seems to have finally found his place in life, but becoming a minor league hockey player won't be an easy ride. 

The film does follow the familiar sports cliche where the lead character's team slowly begins climbing its way to the top after a disastrous start, but it is a very different kind of comedy. Scott gives a credible performance as this simple minded athlete. Liev Schreiber and Alison Pill both give strong performances in their secondary roles and I wish they would've been a little more involved in the story. Goon is a raunchy and bloody comedy that fails to deliver what is most important in a comedy: laughs. Scott plays a character who happens to be extremely polite despite his aggression, and in a way I guess that contrast is what was appealing to the people who liked this film. Somewhere under all that violence and cursing the film had something sort of sweet in Doug, but somehow that never appealed to me. 


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