Thursday, September 1, 2016

Movie Review: YOGA HOSERS

Wow.  One simple word that earnestly describes the many feelings I have about this film.  Yoga Hosers is the latest film in director Kevin Smith's aptly titled "True North Trilogy", which began back in 2014 with his insane horror film, Tusk, and will wrap up with a third film titled Moose Jaws, which, as Smith puts it, is exactly what it sounds like...Jaws with a moose.  This film is weird and wild, smart and crazy, and is unlike anything Smith has done to this date, yet has a very familiar feel to it.  It is a great follow up to Tusk, but manages to create its own identity, standing on its own two legs as a film, and not relying on the previous story.

Yoga Hosers tells the story of two convenient store clerks (sound familiar?) in Canada named Colleen M. (played by Smith's daughter, Harley Quinn) and Colleen C. (played by Lily-Rose Depp, daughter of Johnny Depp).  These two, average 15-year-old yoga enthusiasts discover an ancient evil presence and must team up with the legendary man-hunter, Guy LaPointe (with Johnny Depp reprising his role from Tusk), to stop this threat before anyone else dies.

From the very beginning of this film, you understand exactly what the tone is, and that tone is a weird, high energy, teen romp, which is exactly what Kevin Smith set out to do.  Smith described it as Clueless meets Gremlins, and after seeing it, he's absolutely right.  During the One-Night Yoga Hosers Premier Party Event (which is were I saw the film) they showed a 30-minute intro from Smith's 46th birthday show, where he talks about the film and how it came together.  He told a story about how he would take his daughter to all these male-driven superhero movies, but there really wasn't anything he felt his daughter could really connect with, so he decided he would make that movie himself.  He succeeded in his task, and Yoga Hosers was born.

As a follow up to Tusk, it doesn't seem like a PG-13 teen monster flick would fit in, but Smith makes sure to connect the two perfectly right from the beginning, with newspaper clippings and a short conversation about the girls' involvement in the event of that film.  From there on, this is a completely different type of film, and that's alright.  If he had tried to make it in the same tone as Tusk, it just wouldn't have worked, and probably would have been even more ridiculous than it already is, but in a very bad way.

Smith did a great job of targeting the teenage girl demographic with his choice of filming style and use of fake social media site InstaCan v2.0, which provided in-film character profiles, and if that doesn't scream millennial, then I don't know what does.  Some may not appreciate this film, as it is very different from his previous works.  It doesn't rely on heavy profanity or nudity, but instead relies on the thing Smith does best...witty dialogue.

Most of this dialogue comes from the two leads in the film, Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp, who play The Colleen's.  They have perfect chemistry together, which makes sense, since they're best friends in real life.  These are the types of characters that I would gladly watch again, and are almost like the Canadian versions of Jay & Silent Bob.  We also saw the return of the infamous man-hunter Guy LaPointe, with Johnny Depp reprising his role from Tusk.  I love this character, personally.  It's so weird and off-the-wall, even for Depp, but he brings such life to it, and I don't think anyone else could do it nearly as entertaining (even Quentin Tarantino, who was Smith's first choice for the role).

However, no hero's story can be complete without a villain for them to battle, and this film had tons of them in the form of foot tall Nazis made of bratwurst called Bratzis (all of whom were played by none other than the director himself, Kevin Smith) and the self-proclaimed Canadian F├╝hrer and creator of the Bratzis, Andronicus Arcane, played by Ralph Garman.  The Bratzis were hilarious and weird and so fun to watch.  You don't normally get to see Kevin Smith play weird parts like this, so it was a great change of pace, and Garman was fantastic as always.  He brought a lighthearted humor to the role that perfectly fit in with the tone of the film.  We also got a funny performance by Justin Long as the girls' yoga instructor, Yogi Bayer.  I love watching him in pretty much anything he does.  The film also had a couple of great cameos including Haley Joel Osment, Kevin Conroy of Batman: The Animated Series fame, comic book legend Stan Lee, and of course Jay himself, Jason Mewes.

I really enjoyed the story being told, and was even surprised by the sinister subplot twist, which I won't spoil.  But just because I enjoyed the film, doesn't mean that it's flawless, because it's not.  The most glaring of these was the CGI Bratzis.  Some of the scenes with them looked pretty bad, but it kind of worked, in a really weird way.  The only other part that I was put off by was at the very beginning with the opening scene of The Colleen's singing.  It just felt very awkward. But after that, we were off and running.

If you're a fan of Kevin Smith, definitely check out Yoga Hosers, but be aware, if you're expecting it to be like his other films, you may be disappointed.

The Merc's Score: 8/10

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