‘Goon’ Movie Review
Although it was previously released in Canada (a fitting move given the subject material), Michael Dowse’s hockey comedy Goon gets its U.S. release this weekend. There are plenty of parallels between this sports comedy and the equally as absurd (but still funny) The Waterboy. Both have seemingly inept sports players who rely heavily on violence to help their team. However, they turn out to be much more than enforcers by the end. Luckily, both movies achieve laughs, even if this may be their only strongpoints.
Starring Seann William Scott, Goon anchors its story around a bartender-turned-hockey player. Doug Glatt (Scott) has the ironman ability to take pretty much anything – punch, slash, or hit – from anyone. This toughness lands him a spot on a minor league hockey team as an enforcer. His primary job is to rough up the other team while protecting his own players. In hockey, this unsung hero is vital to any team. He is rarely noticed in the box score, but he is very important on the ice.
Despite his poor hockey skills, his enforcement skills get Glatt promoted. However, his hero Ross “The Boss” Rhea (Liev Schreiber) gets demoted in the meantime. These two become rivals despite their mutual respect for each other. The up-and-comer eventually must face off against his hero in a physical match that has much more on the line than just an ordinary minor league hockey game.
Like Adam Sandler in The Waterboy, Seann William Scott carries the film mostly with his comedy. Known for his crazy antics, Scott’s past comedic performances speak for themselves. Goon is no different. His nice, but tough, guy mentality makes him a very easy person to root for.
The interesting dynamic between Glatt and Rhea is also fun to watch. They have no past, no reason to like or hate each other, except for hockey. The sport makes them both love and loathe each other. For a film that may seem a little slight on the outside, this depth is worth noting.
Still, the film isn’t for everyone. For one, it plays out like most typical sports movies. As a sports fan, it is easier for me to latch onto films that focus on this subject. However, I can imagine people who don’t particularly enjoy sports that won’t find the premise very appealing. On the flip side, the most hardcore of fans will probably think the movie lacks authenticity. This is really tough since it relies on the middle ground.
Also, the material is Rated-R for a reason. Sure, there are raunchier movies out there, but that doesn’t mean this is a movie your grandpa and grandma will appreciate. The slapstick dialogue and violent nature won’t resonate with all audiences. Humor-wise, the stuff outside of Glatt and Rhea doesn’t hit their comedic stride. With the exception of Pat (Jay Baruchel), the characters are undeveloped and mostly un-funny.
By the end credits, the film has its ups and downs. However, the main story still packs a pretty good punch. Maybe it’s not quite as strong of a punch as Doug Glatt’s, but at least the ride is somewhat funny. The film smartly skips over some hockey progression, making it seem a lot less sportsy. However, it also introduces a bunch of jokes that seem more like Glatt’s slap shot. It’ll be up to the specific individual whether the good outweighs the bad.