Straight to Beta: Goon
You don’t see too many sports comedies these days. By you, I mean everybody. Not you in particular. How do I know what you watch? Anyway, my point being, sports comedies seem to have faded over the past 20 years. We went from Major League, Bull Durham and The Longest Yard, to whatever sport Will Ferrell was satirizing (Talladega Nights, Semi-Pro, Blades of Glory, etc). While these are funny movies, the sport itself was merely a stage for Will Ferrell to be funny on, while the aforementioned films made their sport the star of movie. When Major League was over, you wanted to go outside and play baseball. When Blades of Glory was over, you wanted to go to Taco Bell. Goon is a sports movie that aimed to be the former…and almost succeeded.
Goon is the story of Doug Glatt (Sean William Scott), a not so bright brute who has yet to find a purpose in life. After beating the crap out of a belligerent hockey player during a game, an on looking hockey coach plucks him from obscurity and tosses him on the team as a sort of enforcer, paid to punch more so than play. Doug quickly gets the hang of things and begins to feel like he’s finally found a path, much to the dismay of his parents. His path, however, is on a collision course with Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber), the veteran goon on the rival team that has made his living administering concussions to anyone that gets in his way. In a nutshell: lots of ice skating, lots of fighting, lots of French Canadians.
Okay, first off, this movie is funny. There are about half a dozen laugh out loud moments, both big and small, that make this movie a great way to blow 2 hours. Sean William Scott is in good form here and gives a refreshingly different performance than his usual Stiffler character. Live Schriber, who’s always good, and Allison Pill, who will always be the Sex Ba-Bomb drummer to me, are also a joy to watch.
Here’s where it loses me; the writing is not that great. Co-star, Jay Baruchel wrote the film with Seth Rogen’s long time writing partner, Evan Goldberg and yet there is an amateur feel to much of the writing. The plot felt rushed most of the time, skipping over any character development that would endear us to anybody in the movie. I didn’t know if Doug was a well intentioned idiot or a slacker who’s just not applying himself like the rest of his upscale family did. If it was made more clear in the beginning, I would’ve cared more. But it wasn’t, so I didn’t. All the pieces were here to tell a funny and heartwarming story about a loveable character, a loveable underdog hockey team, and a relationship between Doug and Eva(Pill). Yet, each of these was only paid lip service, leaving its wasted potential to die on the ice. But hey, there’s a lot of punching!
Again, this is still a pretty funny movie, and with the crap you have to wade through on Netflix Instant Watch, a cut above most films on there. I read an article recently that claimed this film was superior to Slap Shot, the hockey comedy starring Paul Newman. Well, I haven’t seen that, so you be the judge. You, again, meaning all of you. Not just you, Todd. Geeze, get over yourself.
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