I did not think that I would be sitting here writing a glowing review of a sports film, much less a sports film starring Seann William Scott. I don’t mind sports, but I never was the guy who bought jerseys or took the night off to watch a game of any type, it just wasn’t my thing. A sport (whatever one you want to place here) serves its place in society, and I can get behind that, but I for one miss out on the comradely that surrounds the games/teams. Seann William Scott, who plays as the main character in Goon, is not a person that I am very fond of within the acting world; he has failed to impress me numerous times. That is, until now. Within the first five minutes of Goon, I was hooked, this film is much more than a sports film, yet it tackles many of the themes in the typical sports film but without the dramatization and over sentimentality. Goon is something that everyone needs to see; it is charming and uplifting, far more than any other similar type film.
Goon is based on the novel, Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey, and it follows that story of Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott), a bumbling, meat head whose only talent is beating people to a pulp. Doug is a bouncer and spends his time watching hockey games with his friend, Ryan (Jay Barauchel), who is a hockey commentator and overall goofball. One night they go to a hockey game together and get into an altercation with one of the players. Doug, feeling offended that the player said “faggot” (his brother is gay), beats the guys up. A coach sees this fight and calls Doug, offering him a job on his hockey team. Doug doesn’t know how to skate or play hockey, but he knows how to throw a punch, and that is what the team needs. From here, it’s only up for the meat head, even if it is minor league.
Goon’s script was written by Jay Baruchel (who plays Ryan in the film) and Evan Goldberg who based their ideas off the novel that was written by Doug Smith. This duo was able to bring a level of humor to the film that is so goddamn delightful that I couldn’t help but smile every other minute. Everything about the film is either humorous or touching, and even when the drama builds, they break the tension evenly with little jabs of comedy.
But, the majority of those smiles are directed at the character of Doug Glitt who wears his 69 jersey with pride because he found something that gives him purpose. Doug is an endearing character, he loves what he does and has his own set of morals when it comes to knocking guys flat-out on the ice. Sure, Doug is dumb as rocks but he is lovable and he understands what his shortcomings are. As he bumbles his way around people and situations, there is something heroic in the way he perceives who he is. Seann William Scott, looking a little heavier this time, played the role perfectly and I think he might have won me over in terms of his acting abilities.
Goon is well paced. Director Michael Dowse (Take Me Home Tonight…yep) knows how to make this film move. The script never lingers for too long, and it doesn’t take forever to introduce you to the myriad of crazy characters. By the end of the film, you’ll love the ragtag hockey team that Doug becomes a part of and you’ll actually connect with their personalities. Xavier Laflamme (Marc-Andre Grodin), who plays an antagonist of sorts, has a redemptive arch, so even the “bad guy” is not even that detestable. Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber) is the background antagonist, and represents the “evil” Doug, but you don’t hate him either. Everyone is lovable in their own right, even if they’re assholes.
A love story, you say? Yes. There is one in here, of sorts, but it does not feel contrived. Eva (Allison Pill) plays a cute, and mixed up love interest who is attracted to Doug at first because of his hockey roots but soon learns to love him after seeing all the “good” that he envelopes. Eva’s character allows for the viewer to see more of Doug’s personality when he truly cares about someone. His honesty and frankness make him all the more adorable. Their relationship reminded me a bit of Rocky, but not in the dramatic sense. So don’t roll your eyes when you see the relationship-element coming towards you, it actually serves a purpose.
I really don’t have that many bad things to say about Goon. It is utterly fantastic. Goon is more than a sports film and its endearing heroine is will have you smiling at every turn. I was pleasantly surprised by this film and I strongly recommend it to everyone. I don’t see any reason to have hate for Goon, but then again, opinions always differ.