A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Goon: Last of the Enforcers is a 2017 sequel to the 2011 comedy in which a minor league hockey star must choose between settling down or continuing to play hockey. This is a very violent movie; hockey players are constantly getting into graphically bloody brawls on the ice. Punches land with bone-crunching sound effects, and blood gushes and shoots out until the ice is stained red. The profanity is incessant and unrelenting: "f--k" is used like it's going out of style, along with other words like "c--t" and "p---y," with references to various extreme sex acts thrown in as well. There's a sight gag in which it's implied that the boss of an insurance agency is going to engage in autoerotic asphyxiation. There are jokes involving erections. One of the characters brags of having sex with his cousin and wears a "F--k White People" hat.
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What's the story?
Doug "The Thug" Glatt (Seann William Scott) is facing a crossroads in his life in GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS. He's still a fan favorite for minor league hockey's Halifax Highlanders, but he's getting older and can't play hockey (read: fight) like he used to. This becomes apparent when he's handily beaten up by a younger player, Anders Cain, the highly temperamental son of the team's owner. Also, his wife, Eva (Allison Pill), is pregnant with their first child. As the pro hockey lockout brings increased attention on the Highlanders and a slew of new players, Glatt decides to retire and settle down. He finds work as an insurance salesman, but finds the drudgery too much to handle. He decides to train with Ross "the Boss" Rhea (Liev Schreiber) to improve his overall skating and stick-handling while also relearning to fight on the ice. Doug rejoins the team, to the chagrin of Anders; the two teammates constantly fight on the ice -- even as Doug tries to avoid fighting to honor a promise he made to his wife -- and Anders' constant trips to the penalty box and suspensions lead his father to trade him to another team. As the Highlanders grind their way into playoff contention, things come to a head when they play Anders' new team. As Anders clearly wants blood and revenge, Doug must "enforce" one last time, and put Anders in his place.
Is it any good?
There are so many attempts at humor happening in any given second -- like someone throwing rapid-fire punches without strategy or style -- the odds are that a punch(line) will land here and there. There are even a few laugh-out-loud moments in Goon: Last of the Enforcers. And with the comedic talent involved, and clear permission from the filmmakers to improvise the humor as need be, there are moments of hilarity: T.J. Miller's ESPN-sportscaster parody is spot-on, and a slightly older character lamenting "these kids today" with their "YouTube, and ... Isis" is funny without resorting to ridiculous gags.
But there are all those other times when the humor doesn't work and feels forced. It's like the filmmakers believed that if a scene didn't completely work, one of the characters could bust out profane one-liners like "tighter than a nun's c--t," and all would be right in Hockey Night in Canada. Such desperate grasps for humor are a benchmark of this movie, and while this could almost be forgiven in a beginning comic resorting to overuse of the "F" word to shock audiences out of realizing that the basic material isn't that strong, it's hard to believe that everyone involved with this movie didn't know better. When the humor fails, it just seems indulgent and as gratuitous as the excessive bleeding during the fight scenes. The end result is a scattershot comedy that's more miss than hit.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sports movies. How does Goon: Last of the Enforcers play with the conventions of the genre?
While fighting in hockey has always been a part of the game, how did this movie exaggerate hockey violence? Was it too much, or was the exaggeration necessary for the sake of comedy?
How is profanity used in this movie? How is it used for the sake of comedy, and how is it used to show the personalities of the players? How much is too much?
- On DVD or streaming: September 1, 2017
- Cast: Seann William Scott, Alison Pill, T.J. Miller
- Director: Jay Baruchel
- Studio: Entertainment One
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Pervasive language, crude sexual content and bloody sports violence.
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