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With: Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Liev Schreiber, Eugene Levy, Marc-Andr� Grondin, Kim Coates, Nicholas Campbell, Richard Clarkin, Jonathan Cherry, Ricky Mabe, George Tchortov, Karl Graboshas, Larry Woo
Written by: Jay Baruchel, Evan Goldberg
Directed by: Michael Dowse
MPAA Rating: R for brutal violence, non-stop language, some strong sexual content and drug use
Running Time: 92
Date: 09/10/2011
IMDB

Goon (2012)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Puck Pluck

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Goon, a new hockey comedy in the vein of Slap Shot, introduces us to a most refreshing and hilarious character, Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott, at his very best), also known as "Thug."

Like many great comedy characters, he's a walking contradiction: he's incredibly tough and extremely good at beating people up. But at the same time, he does this from a place of supreme peace.

When he pummels someone into submission, there's no hate, anger, or vengeance. It's just a skill he has mastered and performs with zenlike concentration. He sometimes even apologizes to his victims.

Additionally, he's not very bright, but even in this ignorance, there's a kind of bliss. For example, he's totally unable to return any kind of verbal insult, which usually diffuses a tense situation.

As Goon begins, Doug works as a bar bouncer. But when he beats up an actual player at a hockey game, the act does not go unnoticed, and he gets an offer to join the local team.

His job does not involve actually touching a puck, however. Rather, he beats up offending opponents, and then calmly takes his place in the penalty box.

Of course, he rises through the ranks, moving up to a bigger league, and eventually to semi-stardom.

In any other movie, this would lead up to the "Big Game," but the screenplay -- by writer Evan Goldberg (Superbad) and actor Jay Baruchel -- instead focuses on that most noble of causes: true love.

When Doug sees Eva (Alison Pill) in a bar, his world stops. In his limited capacity, he can only tell her how beautiful is. For her part, Eva is turned on by brutal hockey players, and cheats on her boyfriend with Doug, creating a sticky situation.

Before the movie ends, Doug must also fight the veteran player Ross Rhea (an excellent Liev Schreiber) on the ice. This is not about justice, hatred, or revenge, as much as it is simply inevitable. They both know they are going to fight, and they both agree to this.

The director Michael Dowse, who also made the party movie Take Me Home Tonight, creates a kind of grungy, funky universe, one in which a creature like Doug could have slowly evolved.

Dowse does make the common mistake of dropping the humor a few degrees while wrapping up the plot.

But the characters themselves are so pure and honest that the movie sails through on momentum, like a well-placed slap shot.

Magnet releasing's new Blu-ray looks pretty good, given that the movie has a dark, washed-out visual quality. It comes with the "power play" mode, wherein viewers can access various features during the movie. There's a raunchy commentary track with director Dowse and writer/actor Baruchel. It also includes deleted scenes, bloopers and outtakes, lots of other little featurettes and interviews, and trailers.

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