Grae Drake
Goon Review

Grae's Rating:

3.5

Pollyanna with a mean right hook

I am an American female, so what I know about hockey can fit on the surface of one recently knocked out incisor. The nice thing about Goon is that you don't even have to be a fan to enjoy it--it's about more than the demanding sport, small town leagues, and throwing punches. Not much more, but still. It's as cute as a bunch of bloody guys shoving each other could ever get. Here's your starting point: imagine that The Mighty Ducks grew up and got addicted to Percoset. Ready?

Only clairvoyant sorcerers could have guessed that Seann William Scott would have been the busiest actor out of all the American Pie kids. Although he's never strayed too far from the ornery, sex-crazed Stiffler character, Goon actually forecasts a slightly different future for him. Doug Glatt is a sweet dummy who wears his heart on his sleeve. Just like Steve Martin in The Jerk, he knew that he had a special purpose--but unlike Steve Martin, his was to fight. When at a hockey game as a spectator, he pummels a hockey player for using a gay slur and gets enlisted into the local hockey league to be an enforcer. Those guys aren't there to skate well or use their hockey sticks to shoot. They are only there to break people's faces. I didn't even know this was an actual hockey strategy. That's what I get for living so far from the Canadian border.

Even through all of the fun to watch, frenzied fights, with their quick edits and hyperdrive speed, Doug (who is based on a real man, by the way) stands calm and resolute among the craziness. He is such a sweetheart that the sharp barbs of the one-liners and excessive violence don't seem like such a big deal. In fact, they just seem like part of the job. And although his father (Eugene Levy) doesn't approve of such a low-brow occupation, his insane hockey-loving friend (Jay Baruchel, who co-wrote the script) and his brother (David Paetkau) definitely do. And of course his teammates start to come around as they inhale the sweet perfume of a man who is coming into his own.

Goon skates just far enough away from the normal "guy overcomes adversity to achieve his dreams" story to make it an entertaining watch. Yes, there's a girl (Allison Pill), but she isn't as sweet as apple pie (probably because she's Canadian). She's just a regular person who likes watching guys beat the snot out of each other while standing on frozen water. She helps Doug And just like Doug, the brute with a heart of gold, I bought it. And am now buying season tickets to the Los Angeles Kings games.

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