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Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Published April 19 2012

Review: Toss ‘Goon’ in penalty box

The fact that a movie as harsh and despicable as “Goon” can be promoted as a comedy says terrible things about the state of the American film industry.

There’s a workable concept here: A meek but tough bar bouncer (Seann William Scott) finds purpose as a minor-league hockey team’s human battering ram when his role at a semipro hockey game brawl catches the hometown coach’s eye. He’s signed up as the team’s designated brawler and renamed “Doug the Thug.”

There are some engaging scenes at the outset as Doug wobbles onto the ice in his first set of skates – figure skates. His flirtation with a hockey groupie (Allison Pill) looks as if it might have a wistful Rocky-and-Adrian sweetness. His teammates, including a pair of jabbering magpie Russians, the boozy, divorced captain and the bombastic, blackhearted coach, promise to develop into a colorful squad of background players.

None of it pans out.

The romance is forced; the girl shrivels into a misogynist fantasy; the teammates are one-note numskulls; and the film strains to wring ever-diminishing chuckles from Doug’s punishing on-ice clashes.

The movie never grasps the distinction between outrageous slob comedy and vulgar junk. “Slap Shot” it’s not.


Fargo Theatre

Rated R for brutal violence, nonstop language, some strong sexual content and drug use

90 minutes

1½ stars out four