In movies, as in life, there comes a time when getting blind drunk, vomiting in the parking lot after closing time, swearing like you just learned the F-bomb and playing sports and brawling like you’ve nothing to lose isn’t cute any more. It’s just sad.
Of course, in the movies actors play-acting characters still making poor life-choices of arrested development stops being cute deep into your ’30s.
So it is with most everybody in “Goon: Last of the Enforcers.” A lot of actors without much else going on revisit the blood-stained ice of a 2011 B-movie and try to make it half as funny as the half-funny farce (a limp imitation of “Slap Shot”) it is based on.
Seann William Scott is back at Doug Glatt, “nice guy” who says “Sorry” after every hard check into the boards, after every punch thrown in a hockey brawl. If there was ever a time where he could pass for “a huge Jewish freight train” on the ice, it has passed. “Oy vey” indeed.
Allison Pill is back as Eva, the bartender he fell for, married and in this film, has impregnated.
“Doug, my water broke.”
“That’s OK. I can get you another one down at the gas station!”
She wears exactly the mileage of a 30something who has spent too much time in bars and begun the long downward slide of just giving up.
Liev Schreiber pops back in to try and class up the proceedings as an aged “goon” — with just enough scenes to not draw star billing, because nobody would want it for this.
T.J. Miller drops in as the foul-mouthed TV “Sports Desk” hockey analyst — “It’s SPORTS…at a Desk!”
And Jay Baruchel overplays the childhood pal named Hoolihan, who never sobered up and never heard a rhymes-with-puck profanity he wouldn’t use or a penis joke he didn’t love — in front of and now (he co-wrote this and directed it) behind the camera.
The story this time has Glatt’s career with the Halifax Highlanders brought to an overdue end by a better brawler (Wyatt Russell). After a brief, humiliating (and underwritten) turn in insurance — Jason Jones of TV’s “The Detour” is his goofball boss — Doug reaches out to the retired goon Ross Rhea (Schreiber) to teach him how to fight with his left, not his right, doctor’s orders be damned.
He’s got to get fit, get back on the ice (behind his foul-mouthed bride’s back) and take his team back from Anders Cain (Russell).
Schreiber has the best scenes, a new home for has-beens from hockey’s not-quite-the-big-leagues. It’s the Bruised and Battered Competition, a Hockey Fighting Tournament “without the hockey.” Aged brawlers take to the ice in fifth tier arenas in uniform and on stakes, and beat each other deeper into CTE.
But there’s no time to mourn for heroes on their last legs in a comedy built on “”Jaeger bombs” and F-bombs. Baruchel’s script lacks the guts to stick with that “We all grow old” elegy, and lacks the laughs to take away the funereal feel that hangs over the picture — with players who got famous in teen roles pushing 40 and gone to seed.
Scott has lost his “American Pie” fastball, Baruchel has lost his nebbishy lightweight in Judd Apatow comedies edge (all that “How to Train Your Dragon” voice-over work?). He does OK with the hockey game scenes, manages a passable version of hockey fights, but the funny lines don’t land — partly because they’re weak and partly because Baruchel the director couldn’t arm-twist his actors into giving him more.
It seems like just yesterday when I was trying to talk Wyatt Russell’s dad (Kurt Russell) into sending the hockey prodigy to my alma mater, The University of North Dakota. Here, he’s the career-ending cheap-shot artist Anders Cain, a psycho on skates, just not that interesting as a villain, a character or an actor — not yet, anyway.
Truthfully, nobody here makes much of an impression, save for Schreiber.
But I did like two lines — one, the owner’s curse of amazement at a “Battle Royale” of hockey retirees brawling to entertain the great unwashed — “Jesus Christ on a bike!”
The other’s a nice speech about learning “the difference between a ‘moment’ and a career,” a poignant lesson in life, sports and acting which deserves to be in a better movie.
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, crude sexual content and bloody sports violence |
Cast: Seann William Scott, Allison Pill, Liev Schrieber, Wyatt Russell, Jay Baruchel, T.J. Miller
Credits: Directed by Jay Baruchel, script by Jay Burchel and Jesse Chabot, based on the Adam Frattasio, Douglas Smith book. A release.
Running time: 1:41