Movie Review - Goon
Doug is a bouncer at a bar in Massachusetts, probably near Boston. He occasionally has to rough people up but when he does, he always apologizes for it. He may punch people in the face but at least he says sorry first. Doug's best friend is Ryan, played by Jay Baruchel who co-wrote this screenplay. Ryan hosts a public access TV show called Hot Ice, which is all about hockey. He takes Doug to hockey games and stuffs him full of corn dogs.
At one particular game, a player that's put into the penalty box shouts an anti-gay slur, which prompts a fight between Doug and this player. Doug easily but completely beats up the player. This impresses the crowd in the hockey stadium. It also impresses the hockey coach who then recruits Doug onto the team. Doug is good at watching hockey. He's not so good at playing it. First of all, he can't ice skate. Eventually, he learns but the coach doesn't really want him for his amazing hockey skills. The coach wants Doug because he can fight and he can fight really well. Doug can brutally take down any man by repeatedly punching that man in the face.
Apparently, this is a good thing in hockey. Liev Schreiber plays Ross Rhea, an older hockey player who also made a name for himself by beating people up on the ice rink. The question is if Doug is going to go the way of Ross and be only known for his flying fists than for actually playing the game of hockey. In the midst of this, Doug meets Eva, played by Alison Pill. Eva is a horny girl who likes hockey players. She has a boyfriend but that doesn't deter Doug. She's conflicted but makes it clear that she likes Doug.
Aside from one player on the hockey team who happens to be Doug's roommate, it's pretty difficult for anyone not to like Doug. Sean William Scott who will always be remembered as Stiffler from the American Pie movies does his best to be sweet, cute, charming, awkward and a little bit of an idiot, in other words anti-Stiffler. It's a more subdued form of comedy from him, which I prefer. It's then juxtaposed with all those fight scenes where punches become these grating sounds and blood is either squirted or spilled in slow motion.
Director Michael Dowse follows Doug's hockey team through its various games, but I began to lose interest in its outcome. The whole time I just kept thinking that instead of hockey, Doug might make for a great boxer. That would be more appropriate. What is it about hockey that allows for this guy to get on and beat people up? I just didn't get that. Dowse shoots the movie with an eye towards subdued, no bright colors, mostly scenes at night, so that perhaps we feel the Canadian cold. There is warmth in some of his close-ups of Doug's face, which help to endear you to him.
Three Stars out of Five.
Rated for brutal violence, non-stop language, some strong sexual content and drug use.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 31 mins.