Despite following the travels of an American, Goon is about as Canadian as Rush, and thankfully a lot more fun than the opener of TIFF 2010, Score: The Hockey Musical. Goon, written by two members of the “Apatow School” – Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg – is foul-mouthed, good-natured and above all, a good time.
Following the travels of a young man headed North West, Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) is a bouncer from Orangetown, MA who is a nice, indecisive guy who is good at throwing a punch (although he often apologizes when he does). Recruited on his buddy’s public access show after he kicks some ass at a hockey game, he starts his new career at a local minor league team. Their games involve more fighting than hockey, but it’s not hockey unless you leave blood and teeth on the ice (see the film’s opening shots).
Good at what he does, despite being a barely functional hockey player, Doug is traded off to another dysfunctional minor league team in Halifax, where some of the film’s funniest moments occur, both on the ice and in the locker room. A film like this works because of its energy, something woefully missing from the previous Michael Dowse film to play in American theaters (Take Me Home Tonight). Seann William Scott is ideally cast as our hero, a hugely underrated comic talent since his days as Steve Stiffler.
The ecosystem around Doug is also key to the fun of the film, including a cute girl (Alison Pill) with a boyfriend who nevertheless falls for Doug. She vows to stop sleeping with hockey players (Doug of course is different) but don’t think this film goes that soft. Jay Baruchel is perfectly cast as a foul-mouth commentator, video blogger and BFF of Doug, as is his inevitable rivals, including Ross “The Boss” Rhea (Liev Schreiber), who is just off a three-year suspension for clocking a guy in the back of the head.
Score: The Hockey Musical (or Breakaway – which is different, but equally as iconic as a multicultural Canadian hockey film) this film is not, but unapologetically badass, ruthless and bloodthirsty – Goon is a lot of fun.