Starring: Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill
Director: Michael Dowse
Running Time: 96 mins
Goon is a Canadian film about a man who is hired by an ice hockey team as their resident brawler, leading them to glory and success through violence and friendship.
For a film that’s all about punch-ups and raunchy humour, I was really surprised by just how heartfelt Goon was. Of course, it’s not a masterpiece, with a fairly predictable story and generally sub-par comedy, but its heart is in the right place throughout, and along with a delightful does of Canadian patriotism, it makes for a genuinely pleasant watch.
Now, if you’re looking for big, easy laughs like you’ll find in most Hollywood late-night comedies, then Goon isn’t the place to look. It’s not particularly witty, and a lot of the biggest jokes are reliant on fairly superficial raunchy or stupid humour. In short, it’s not that funny, and there are far better movies out there to make you laugh all the way through.
However, what the film really does have going in its favour is a collection of likeable characters and a genuinely heartfelt story about finding your place in the world when it seems like you’ll never belong. Granted, the film goes about what sounds like a very cheesy plot in a rather unorthodox way, but it manages to surprise with genuinely tender storytelling in the midst of what at first glance looks like a purely stupid comedy.
Thanks to likeable performances from Seann William Scott and Alison Pill, the film really endears you to its main characters, and although they act like idiots a lot of the time, you can tell that they’re only looking for the best in life, and it’s a delight to see them succeed, something that’s not often the case with characters like these.
The other great thing about Goon is just how patriotic it is. I’m not Canadian, but I love to see people being proud of the quirks and oddities of their home countries, and this film does that in wonderful style throughout.
Rather than purely jingoistic patriotism in the vein of some of Hollywood’s more brain-dead blockbusters, Goon has a great blend of self-deprecating humour as well as genuine love for Canada, and that’s where you’ll find the most fun in this movie. After all, there aren’t too many more movies as patriotically Canadian as this one.
In terms of the main story, this film isn’t particularly interesting or unpredictable, sticking tight to a rather simplistic sports formula along with relatively little in the way of character development.
However, it’s that energy, likeability and genuine heart that makes Goon such a nice watch, and thanks to that extra dash of patriotism, there’s a lot to like about what is, at least objectively speaking, far from a brilliant movie. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.0 overall.