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Stars: Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Marc-Andre Grondin, Eugene Levy, Liev Schreiber, Kim Coates, Dave Wheeler

Director: Michael Dowse

Those dedicated cineastes who believe the phrase ‘Canadian comedy’ is simply an oxymoron will be jubilant in their dislike for this rude, lewd and crude comedy set against the frosty background of professional Canadian ice hockey..

But, as is often the cineaste-baiting case, Goon is clearly aimed at moviegoers rather than auteurists. The disgraceful and disgracefully funny four-letter-laden dialogue might even make (British) television station Channel 4 blush. Happily, the ‘15’ certificate should be ample warning for sensitive or faint-hearted filmgoers. This is no family film but if you’re in the mood for filthy fun and a load of bloody brawls on ice to boot, Goon delivers.

Sensitivity is not the aim of the screenplay by Canadian-born screenwriters Evan Goldberg (Pineapple Express, Superbad’ and Jay Baruchel, who also plays ‘hero’ Scott’s best friend.

The narrative is simple. Simple-minded and amiable bouncer Scott is recruited by a Halifax ice hockey team to beat the hell out of rival players and protect the team’s star player. Which he does with bloody vigour and achieves off-beat ice rink stardom on the way, as his team heads towards glory in the finals. But he also comes up against his notoriously violent would-be nemesis Schreiber. Still, he also finds time to romance (on the pill, so to speak) with feisty female fan Pill…

The engaging brew of violence on ice, ribald romance and dirty dialogue does the Apatow-style business for fans of low laughs and is, somewhat unbelievably (until newsreel footage in the end credits), inspired by the life and career of real-life amateur boxer-turned-ice hockey player Doug Smith). No knowledge of ice hockey is required to enjoy watching Scott – ideally cast and playing to the hilt – and company, as director Dowse puts them through their paces and throws Canadian comic star Levy into the zany brew for extra value.

At the time (1977), Paul Newman's Slap Shot was considered to be violence on ice. Goon makes its resemble a preschool training film.

And, for those who believe you learn nothing at the movies, the film offers three definitions of Goon.

The first is "A hired hoodlum or thug"

The second, "A stupid, foolish or awkward person"

and now -

Someone "To beat the crap out of everyone and everything".

Alan Frank

USA/Canada 2012. UK Distributor: Entertainment-One UK. Colour.
91 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 08 Jan 2012