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Released 6 Jaunary 2011
Director Michael Dowse

Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Liev Schreiber, Eugene Levy, Kim Coates
Writer(s) Jay Baruchel, Evan Goldberg

Don Carmody, Ian Dimerman, David Gross, André Rouleau, Jesse Shapira
Origin United States, Canada
Running Time 92 minutes
Genre Comedy, sport
Rating 16

Pucking awful.

I have been assured by those in the know that ice hockey is a complex, skilful sport. Little of this is on display in Goon, a comedy written by Evan Goldberg (Superbad) and Jay Baruchel and anonymously directed by Michael Dowse. The predominant skill used in the film is that of being able to punch a man repeatedly in the face while simultaneously balancing on ice skates. Sports movies do of course have the ability to be great without the display of great prowess. Take Moneyball for example, a baseball film more interested in finance and statistics than taking us through games inning by inning. Well, if Moneyball is at one end of the scale, then Goon is on the other; a film where the stupidity of its violence is matched only by the violence of its stupidity.

The “goon” in question is Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott), a freakishly strong and intellectually impaired sports fan. While attending a local hockey game with friend Ryan (Baruchel), Doug gets into a fight with one of the players and knocks him out cold. This impresses the team’s manager and he is soon recruited as an enforcer - the player who gives and takes beatings so that the more skilled players (in this case a pretty boy called Xavier Laflamme) can make it to the goal.

That’s about it plot-wise. There is an unbelievable love interest (Allison Pill) thrown in for good measure but the lack of incident means it limps its way to the hour and a half mark. There is an attempt at a big face off between Glatt and legendary enforcer Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber) but since there isn’t any real animosity between the two, the finale is no more than a damp squib. The character of Glatt himself doesn’t help matters. The problem with a goon as hero, is that their function on the team is hardly dynamic - he’s only there to punch whoever comes his way. Scott’s performance meanwhile is a little confusing - Glatt is supposed to be just a little dumb but is played as a Canadian Forrest Gump.

Add to this  a sense of humour that would make Superbad look mature and the result is a holiday season turkey. Unless you’re a big ice hockey fan, steer clear.

- Linda O’Brien