I neither know nor care about ice hockey, but I loved GOON! It's a wonderfully warm-hearted, foul-mouthed comedy, apparently based on the true story of a polite, sweet kid who couldn't really skate but could really fuck people up with fists. This is apparently a totally acknowledged and accepted part of hockey - a sport which is, according to this flick, as much to do with taking a pounding as mad skills with a stick and puck. If only 10% of the violence on screen happens in real matches, I have new found respect for the mad bastards playing it. Our particular mad bastard - the goon of the title - is Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott aka Stifler). Patronised by his college-educated family, Doug stumbles into minor league hockey and discovers that, for once, he's needed and praised for doing what he does best. To be sure, he needs to come to terms with the fact that his parents will never really get it, and conquer the anger of his burnt out, mad-skilled room-mate, Laflamme (Marc-Andre Grondin), not to mention beat the crap out of retiring Goon Emeritus, Ross Rhea (Liev Schrieber). But through it all, he remains the same sweet lunk he always was.
I love the script for its perfect balance of insane violence and right-on liberal intolerance for fag jokes. I love the way the sweet romance is balanced by plenty of gritty observations about life in working-class snow-bound towns and piss-stained tour buses. Most of all, I love the counter-casting in almost every role. Jay Baruchel, typically the sweet geek, becomes the wise-cracking, R-rated best friend. Seann William Scott, typically the R-rated best friend, becomes the sweet-hearted hero. Liev Schrieber - I mean, serious thespian Liev Schreiber - becomes the muscle-headed retiree. And best of all, we have Alison Pill - who invests so much messed-up good-hearted flakiness into her role as Eva, that we can't but help routing for her and Doug.
Kudos to director Michael Dowse (IT'S ALL GONE PETE TONG) and screenwriters Jay Baruchel (TROPIC THUNDER) and Evan Goldberg (50/50, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS). This movies was totally unexpectedly hilarious and heart-warming!
GOON played Toronto 2011 and is currently on release in the UK and Ireland. It goes on release in Canada on January 24th. It is available on VOD in the US on February 24th and goes on limited released on March 30th.