It’s really no surprise that London, Ontario native Michael Dowse made Goon (2011). Dowse, director of Canadian cult essentials FUBAR: The Movie (2002) and FUBAR 2: The Wrath of Tron (2010), returns to the big screen with his latest fun loving comedy about possibly the most definitive of Canadian sub-cultures.
In Goon, Sean William Scott of American Pie fame skilfully stupefies himself in order to play Doug Glatt. Glatt is a kind and loveable ‘hockey bro’, built like an ox and never willing to back down from a fight.
Although Glatt isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, he quickly gives up his job as a bouncer in a small pub when offered a spot as an enforcer on his home town team. Based on Adam Frattasio and Doug Smith’s book of a similar title, Goon finally gives us a hilarious glimpse of hockey team dynamics that the family Hockey comedies of the last 20 years have denied us.
After watching two of Glatt’s zaney Slavic teammates pretend to molest another players’ helmet, its obvious that Goon’s writers know a thing about hockey room humour. Penned by dirty-comedy Canucks Evan Goldberg and Jay Baruchel, it is no wonder that Goon basks in every moment of its absolutely hilariously filthy but enjoyable viewing.
Baruchel also stars in the film as Glatt’s best friend Ryan: a witty, foul mouthed, Irish Canadian hockey enthusiast who seems to be the only person who truly roots for Glatt to succeed. It’s good to see Scott step out of his comfort zone as he’s waded in a Steve Stiffler/ Ryan Reynolds-esque niche for quite some time.
Baruchel proves to be a crafty actor and although his presence on screen is not always a focal point, it’s good to see him out of the shadow of his comedic pals who usually surround him e.g. Knocked Up (2007).
When Glatt gets hired onto Halifax’s semi-pro team, his job as an enforcer is complicated when he is given the responsibility of watching the back of a pill popping hockey bad boy named Xavier Laflamme (Marc- Andre Grondin).
Laflamme’s flagrant disregard for anything that doesn’t have a line of coke on it, mixed with Glatt’s ‘soft spoken giant’ demeanour makes for a very entertaining opposites attract type of comedy here. Goon is a drunken rollercoaster ride that shows us everything The Mighty Ducks (1992) could have been, and is definitely the most playfully grotesque thing to come out of Canada since Porky’s (1982).