Film Review: Goon: Last of the Enforcers

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goon2.jpgDirector: Jay Baruchel
Writers: Jay Baruchel (screenplay), Jesse Chabot (screenplay)
Stars: Elisha Cuthbert, T.J. Miller, Liev Schreiber

Review by Gilbert Seah

Hockey is a Canadian sport with lots of fights and violence. Hockey films have been made when this essential characteristic was removed and looked down upon. This has resulted in the worst films (SCORE: A HOCKEY MUSICAL; HELLO DESTROYER) ever made on the sport. Fortunately GOON captures the violence and rowdiness of the sport and the two GOON movies can arguably be considered the best Hockey films.

When the first GOON was released, the film poster (with the tongue between the two fingers) created an uproar and all the posters had to be taken down in Toronto. Director Burachel who co-wrote and directed the second GOON, taking over the directing reins from Michael Dowse (IT’S ALL GONE PETE TONG, FUBAR) knows hockey and loves to create ‘shit’ like his supporting character, Pat in the movie. In real life, Baruchel is an avid Hockey fan who has worked in raunchy comedies before with the likes of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. So, GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS uneven though it may be (as this is Burachel’s directorial debut), is still a good effort.

The story follows the first GOON film, with most of the characters still present. The film begins with a fight that puts the lead character, Doug (Seann William Scott) in hospital and unable to play again. Doug gets a job in insurance even though he (and his boss) know nothing about insurance. The insurance segments are very funny. Doug’s girl, Eva (Alison Pill) is expecting a baby. He promises to stop fighting, a promise he cannot keep. Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell, also seen in the recent TABLE 19), who put Doug in hospital is brought in as the new team captain. During the pro lockout, Doug’s team, the Halifax Highlanders, unites with a bunch of new players. Finally Doug is brought back in. Confrontation and a major fight between the two result.

For a comedy, this film is more violent than any boxing film (taking ROCKY and RAGING BULL as examples). Director Burachel knows how to shoot the fights and they are not easy to watch. Burachel also knows how to film hockey games, and the matches are well executed with all the excitement of a top sports film.

Jay Burachel has a few scenes as Pat, Doug’s best friend. Whenever Pat appears, there is trouble. But there are also laughs. The lead Seann William Scott appears here with full facial hair. Scott is a good enough actor, being in teen comedies like the AMERICAN PIE films and DUDE, WHRE’S MY CAR? This is the actor who plays a character that takes a dump in his enemy’s cooler at a camp fire (one of the AMERICAN PIE sequels), so a lot of toilet humour ca be expected from him. Canadian actor Callum Keith Rennie plays the team owner.

GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS is a male comedy about hockey. So, don’t expect any messages or life lessons. The film is a lot of fun and laughs. It is like the game, very Canadian. I enjoyed it a lot.




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office_christmas_party_movie_poster.jpgDirectors: Josh Gordon, Will Speck

Stars: Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon, Vanessa Bayer

OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY, the comedy, about an office party gone haywire is not novel in its idea or conception. The office here is some software tech called Zenotek. The CEO Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston) tries to close the branch of her hard-partying brother Clay (T. J. Miller). Clay and his Chief Technical Officer, Josh Parker (Jason Bateman) must rally their co-workers and host an epic office Christmas party in an effort to impress a potential client, first name Walter (Courtney B. Vance) and close a sale that will save their jobs. It is not a revolutionary storyline, but one that has potential for high jinx comedy. Directors Speck and Gordon (BLADES OF GLORY and THE SWITCH) has fashioned this office party comedy using all means they can get their hands on. The result is them getting their hands too full.

OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY will be inevitably compared to other party comedies like the teen PROJECT X and the Blake Edwards/Peter Sellers collaboration THE PARTY. Like both films, OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY is about the party that escalates slowly out of control. Here, a dressed up Jesus rides a white horse right down the office cubicles. The building high rise windows get smashed and almost every male gets a blow job.

In THE PARTY a painted elephant gets washed with bubbles everywhere while all the surrounding trees and electricity poles get wrecked outside the party house in PROJECT X. But the problem with OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY is that just when the party gets funny, right after Walter accidentally gets coked up, the film is taken out into the open where an unfunny car chase takes place ending with the car racing to make a drawbridge – a stunt that is does not come off that funny.

The Russian mafia takedown does not generate much laughs either.
The script takes the plot of saving the company too seriously. The audience is supposed to believe that Josh’s romantic interest, Tracey (Olivia Munn) has invented some internet communications portal. Who really cares? If one can remember, THE PARTY hardly and any plot but an Indian actor accidentally invited to a Hollywood party and accidentally causing havoc.

The cast contains some bright talents – some funny but some not. Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon (she played Hillary Clinton on SNL) is winning as the politically correct HR person, thought the script has to rely on her sex and fart jokes. (She is called the farty lady). Courtney B. Vance is also a scream. Bateman and Munn have straight roles while Miller is not funny at all. Jennifer Aniston is quite game for anything and she does the Meryl Streep role in THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. Her character makes two grand entrances (remember Streep’s unforgettable 10 minute entrance to the Prada building at the film’s start?) to the brother’s company.

Considering the cast and talent involved in OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY, the film could have come up with a higher hit and miss laughter ratio. Still, my bet is the film doing well at the box-office, with a film milking the perfect festive holiday theme of an office party.



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Happy Birthday: T.J. Miller

tjmiller.jpgHappy Birthday actor T.J. Miller

Born: June 4, 1981 in Denver, Colorado, USA

Married to: Kate Miller (6 September 2015 – present)

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