directed by Michael Dowse
Michael Dowse, most well known for Take Me Home Tonight (a film that sat on the shelf longer than that weird mason jar of liquid in the back of my refrigerator), has bounced back from that disaster with a fully shitfaced, rowdy mess of a hockey comedy called Goon. Goon, co-written by talented actor Jay Baruchel (who also co-starred in the film) and Evan Goldberg (of Pineapple Express fame), tells the story of likeable idiot Doug Glatt, directionless and gloomy, until a brawl at a minor league hockey game uncovers his talent for asskickery. Buddy Ryan (Baruchel, in chuckle inducing goofball mode) films the fight and posts it on the net, and Doug “The Thug” is born. Doug gets scouted by a Canadian hockey team to act as the official enforcer, but here’s the catch (you’ll never see it coming): he can’t skate. Okay, the plot is essentially generic to a fault, but it’s the nuances that set Goon apart. Seann William Scott plays Doug with a heart breaking subtlety that I wasn’t ready for. He makes of Doug a kind of Rocky Balboa-esque personae that doesn’t feel generic or overdone, a guileless and sincere dim bulb you so want to root for. Scott brings something deeper and needed to the film, and dare I say the role brought out some acting chops? I do dare! And Liev Schreiber kicks all kinds of ass as Ross Rhea, the king of the bruisers and the inevitable Titan against whom Doug must clash. Schreiber plays Rhea as straight as possible, which is always the best way to do it in a comedy like this. There are loose ends that don’t get tied up neatly at the end, which I loved about the film, and Goon is hardcore in all the right ways. By that I mean the fights. The bloody, brutal, badass fights that reach down and grab you by the guts. There was something Gladiator-esque about the icy battles, something that almost urges you to yell at the screen. Goon is not phenomenal, but it was good enough to keep a smile on my face and spill a few drops of beer on the floor as I jumped to my feet, shouting “hell yeah!”at full volume.