Why aren’t there more hockey movies? You would think that a sport that provides both nail-biting game tension and fist-swinging boxing drama would get more screen time. Goon, by Canadian director Michael Dowse, is a new comedy that tries to capitalize on both. Pulling a page from Slap Shot (1977), the movie centers around the endearing, if dimwitted Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott), a going nowhere bar bouncer who is spotted by a minor league hockey coach when he beats the crud out of one his hockey players who decides to attack the crowd. Barely able to skate, Doug is brought onto the team for one purpose: protection. He’s pushed out on the ice, drops his gloves, and goes at it with the opposing team’s enforcer. And it’s the first thing Doug has ever really been good at.
The goon is soon shipped up a division to play protector to a primadonna hockey star, Xavier Laflamme (Marc-André Grondin), who should be in the pros, but is skittish after taking some hard hits. Playing for the Halifax team, Doug’s reputation grows, and it all leads towards an epic showdown between the young tough and the near-retirement goon legend, Ross Rhea (Live Schreiber).
Interspersed between the fights and the sex and booze jokes is a romance between Doug and Eva (Alison Pill), but Dowse does well to play down the sentiment for silliness. Yes, there’s also a feel good message in here, about a young man who finds his purpose, but Goon is mostly gloves-off goofiness.