Goon (R18)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner5/01/2012

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Enjoyable, well directed and frequently funny comedy drama with a likeable performance from Seann William Scott and an adorable turn from co-star Alison Pill, though the script is a little on the slight side and shies away from delivering the knockout emotional punch.

What's it all about?
Directed by Michael Dowse (It's All Gone Pete Tong) and co-written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg (Superbad), Goon is loosely based on a true story and stars Seann William Scott as Doug “The Thug” Glatt, a sweet-natured knucklehead who's a disappointment to his brainy father (Eugene Levy) and makes a living as a bouncer, thanks to his talent for violence. When he beats up a hockey player during a rink-side argument, the scrap is caught on camera and he's soon offered a job as an enforcer or “goon” (someone whose job is to protect the players and take out the opposition) on minor league hockey team the Halifax Highlanders.

Despite clashes with troubled star player Xavier Laflamme (Marc-Andre Grondin) and the fact that he barely knows how to skate, Doug's fighting skills give his team the confidence to start winning games and the stage is soon set for a confrontation with legendary goon Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber), who's about to retire. At the same time, Doug strikes up a romance with hockey fan and self-confessed bad girlfriend Eva (Alison Pill) and is crushed when she reveals she has a boyfriend.

The Good
Seann William Scott is excellent as Doug, eschewing his usual wise-cracking, quick-witted screen persona for a surprisingly effective, sweet-natured performance that's extremely likeable; crucially, Doug isn't a violent person per se – it's just that he's good at it, so that's his job. He also has great chemistry with Alison Pill, who's utterly adorable as Eva, and their scenes together are very funny.

Michael Dowse has a tricky balance to pull off between violent sports movie, raucous comedy and sweet romance, but he gets the tone exactly right throughout and the jokes feel natural rather than forced. It's also interesting that, unlike most comedies, the film never makes fun of Doug for being stupid.

The Bad
The only real problem is that the script ultimately feels a little slight – for example, there's very little in the way of actual plot and the film actively shies away from the dramatic potential inherent in, say, Doug's family relationships, which feels like a missed opportunity.

Worth seeing?
Goon is an enjoyable, well made and frequently funny sports movie with a terrific central performance from Seann William Scott. Worth seeing. (And stick around during the end credits for footage of the real-life Doug).

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Content updated: 22/11/2019 09:32

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