Directed by Michael Dowse. Starring Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Marc-André Grondin, Kim Coates, Eugene Levy. (2012, R, 130 min.)
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., April 27, 2012
Exuberantly off-color, bloody, and frequently laugh-'til-you-choke hilarious, Goon is the best hockey comedy since George Roy Hill's Slap Shot. The lowbrow joys of watching the ice run red with the (traditional) blood and hearing the inspired salty language are renewed and escalated in Goon. You laugh until it hurts when the characters onscreen go ballistic and their noses go crunch, not because the violence is particularly funny (although many of the melees are inspired in their walloping choreography, but because these dunderheads are too thick to know anything else). Goon is all Hanson Brothers, and no Paul Newman. It's hockey comedy unleashed, and it's based on real-life hockey enforcer Doug "the Hammer" Smith's memoir of the same name.
Seann William Scott is Doug Glatt, a Massachusetts bouncer who's alternately puppy-dog sweet, dumb as a bag of pucks, and cursed/blessed with a quicksilver temper and fists of fury that eventually catch the eye of the coach of his local sub-minor-league hockey team. Doug, with some seriously un-PC prompting from his best friend Ryan (screenwriter/actor Baruchel, with Evan Goldberg), is offered a slot in Halifax guarding a once legendary player now crippled by memories of a particularly brutal brawl that left him nearly dead. Liev Schreiber turns up as Ross "the Boss" Rhea, an older, wiser goon who becomes both foe and fount of wisdom for the generally clueless Doug (who, it should be noted), doesn't even know how to skate when his epic journey begins.
Far more than the outrageous and unending streams of profanity and Rollerball-level violence on display here is Scott's layered portrayal. He's a simpleton, really, an oasis of innocence skating his way across a frozen sea of jagged, roughhousing men any sane person would cross the street to avoid. He has zero brains, is all heart, and Scott is utterly perfect in the role. Put on your best Southie accent and say it with me: This film is wicked fahwkin' retahded and I loved it.