What would happen if you left all the blue humor of Slap Shot in a film but took out any semblance of a decent story?
Seann William Scott stars as Doug, a bouncer who lucks into a minor league hockey team’s enforcer role based on his ability to throw and take a punch. He’s the black sheep of the family; his father (Eugene Levy) is a doctor and his brother is a doctor as well. Being a bouncer may be an honest profession but only his best friend (Jay Baruchel) isn’t bothered by it. Doug’s also a bit of a moron, by his own admission, and as such he seems to not have a problem with his station in life.
When he gets into a fight at a local hockey game, he’s noticed for his ability to throw down when warranted. Signed by the local team as its enforcer, then sent one step up the minor league chain to be their enforcer, we follow Doug through his venture in hockey as he’s brought in to protect a prospect (Marc-Andre Grondin) whose confidence was shattered by a brutal hit from a veteran goon (Liev Schreiber). Spending a season in the minors, we follow Doug as he learns life lessons about love and teamwork.
Goon is essentially a sort of reboot of Slap Shot but without the arching story to connect it together. Doug kind of just walks through everything and we’re left with an ending that feels perfunctory as opposed to organic. The film kind of shuffles along, building towards the big fight between Schreiber and Scott, but without any sort of real depth to it, as it’s more about setting up jokes as opposed to telling a story. They’re not fighting for any reason other than the script needs them to.
Doug is given no real character arc; he’s the same character throughout the film and there’s no general movement in that regard for anything he does. It doesn’t hurt that the character handcuffs 90% of Seann William Scott’s natural energy and charisma. This is an actor who has made a living playing a slight variant on one character, Stifler from American Pie, and a little bit of that energy would liven up the film a bit. As Doug he’s subdued in a way that’s almost unbearable; it’s as if he’s sleepwalking through the role.
When it comes to hockey movies it’s Slap Shot and everything else. Call Goon “everything else.”
There are the usual Deleted Scenes, Outtakes and Blooper Reel Footage included. There is the HD Net preview of the film, and various audition footage as well. There’s also a brief piece on fighting as well.
A commentary track with Dowse and Baruchel is also included.
Magnolia Films presents Goon. Directed by Michael Dowse. Starring Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber, Jay Baruchel. Written by Evan Goldberg and Jay Baruchel based off the novel “Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey” by Adam Frattasio and Doug Smith. Running time: 91 minutes. Rated R. Released: June 6, 2012 . Available at Amazon.com.