It’s Stanley Cup season, and I still can’t figure out why Canada likes hockey so much. Oh yeah; it’s the fighting. Anyone who has been to a hockey game most likely looks forward to the chance of witnessing an impromptu brawl on ice skates.
Well, “Goon” takes this prospect from the fan’s mind and runs away with it to the wildest extents. “Goon” is a comedy in the hockey-movie genre, and though it is plenty funny, the other aspects of the movie working together make it more than the sum of its parts and certainly more than a comedy. Maybe one of the most effective aspects of the film is its cast.
“Goon” stars Sean William Scott, and unfortunately, this may be enough to turn some people away. Scott has been regularly type cast since his debut in “American Pie,” unable to transcend the role of “Stifler.” Scott has been condemned to play “Stifler” with a different name throughout his career. This has led most viewers and critics to not take him and his movies seriously.
Luckily, for the movie and his career, Scott owns the role as the amiable bruiser, Doug Glatt, and presents a character that is downright impossible to dislike. Eugene Levy joins Scott from “American Pie” to play the role of Doug’s father, a smart, well to-do businessman who thrusts the same expectations on his son. Allison Pill, who some may remember as Kim Pine from the “Scott Pilgrim” movie, plays Doug’s love interest and the die hard hockey fan in distress, Eva. And, Liev Schreiber plays the perfect villain, as Doug’s big bad rival, Ross Rhea.
There are also the members on Doug’s team who make up for most of the comedy in the movie, and though they are pretty much insane, they become lovably insane as the movie progresses. The story gives us a chance to know and identify with these characters and makes their key roles effective.
Doug is a simple bouncer at a bar in his hometown. However, he’s unhappy. His job as a bouncer leaves him unfulfilled and he only wants to find “his thing”—the one thing that he is good at. He has come to terms with the fact that he is not cut out for more academic pursuits, but his parents continue to pressure him into a proper line of work.
One night, at a hockey game, Doug gets into a fight with a hockey player from the visiting team, and with ease, knocks his lights out. The coach from the home team notices Doug’s talent, calls him up the next day and slaps a pair of skates on him. Without knowing how to skate, or even play hockey, Doug fights his way to the big leagues, truly mocking the sport.
Along his way to glory, Doug must save Eva from her lame boyfriend and confront his parents’ expectations, his identity as merely an entertaining brute and his role as a team player. While at the same time, a threat looms in the background as the even more brutal hockey legend, Ross Rhea, steadily approaches Doug to duke it out on the ice. Everything hangs in the balance as Doug discovers his calling, and it turns into a fun, albeit gruesome, ride.
Like “21 Jump Street,” “Goon” is more than a comedy. It has its dramatic moments and is filmed with a beautiful expertise one does not see in comedy films before 2010. I assure you these things only add to the whole experience. If you want to catch “Goon,” you will have to catch it in an Art house theatre in Portland or more conveniently, On-Demand.
Ian Storey/For the Review
Ian Storey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.