Goon - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
SEANN William Scott’s latest comedy couldn’t have arrived at a more timely moment given the NHL’s recent decision to crackdown on ice hockey brawling given its link to brain injuries among players.
For while it doesn’t really offer anything serious to say on the issue, it does raise the profile of the film which for all its brainless elements looks set to become a cult classic.
Scott plays a former bouncer named Doug whose ability to both take and dish out a beating lands him a key role in his local ice hockey team. As his reputation grows, however, Doug is given a shot at the big leagues, which eventually places him on a collision course with another veteran bruiser, named Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber), as well as an unlikely romance to a ‘slutty’ hockey fan named Eva (Alison Pill).
Michael Dowse’s film, which was co-written by one of the film’s co-stars, Jay Baruchel, with Pineapple Express/Superbad scribe Evan Goldberg, is a guilty pleasure kind of romp that’s as brutal and foul-mouthed as it is funny.
Placing low-brow, knuckle-headed comedy over anything remotely serious, the film does nevertheless have a heart while also steadfastly refusing to conform to too many sporting clichés, which is refreshing in itself.
Hence, the film often feels more like a fight movie masquerading as a triumph of the underdog tale than it does a conventional sports film given that it ultimately comes down to the big smackdown between Doug and Ross.
Scott, for his part, combines brute force with an endearing likeability that makes his central character worth rooting for as well as a subtlety to some of his quieter scenes that gives him an everyman quality.
Schreiber, meanwhile, offers bone-crunching support and gets one particularly strong scene in a diner with Scott, while Pill is a deeply alluring, if kooky, unconventional love interest.
The overall result is a film that revels in its own limitations, while still managing to offer wider appeal than its subject matter would initially suggest. You’ll find yourself laughing along in spite of some of its cruder elements.
Running time: 95mins
UK Release Date: January 6, 2012