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Doug Glatt Returns in GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS (review)

From out of the frozen North it arrived in 2011: a simple-looking and unassuming sports movie that said “Hey, you know what? There hasn’t been a great hockey comedy for quite some time, and I’m here to punch you in the face with my affection for the sport, its players, its fans, and hell, anyone who just likes a good rousing crowdpleaser but doesn’t mind a lot of profanity or graphic fisticuffs.” That movie was called Goon. It was based on a book by an actual hockey enforcer, it was adapted by comedy veterans Evan Goldberg and Jay Baruchel, and as most movie — hockey fans will agree — it was very, very entertaining.

So now it’s six years later and Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) is back! Producer / co-writer Jay Baruchel takes over the directorial reins from Michael Dowse, most of the raucous ensemble is back, and of course Goon: Last of the Enforcers is knee-deep in hockey, foul language, and very nasty fistfights. So while this one might not feel quite as exciting as discovering a new sports comedy classic, there’s always something to be said for a sequel that captures the spirit of the original and forges some new ground of its own.

The plot is pretty simple stuff: the amiable but powerfully dim Doug Glatt has been sidelined — perhaps forever — after a brutal on-ice altercation with the intimidating enforcer known as Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell, clearly having a ball playing an over-the-top villain). Forced to hang up his skates, Doug turns to a life of normal domesticity, and fortunately he has a pretty awesome wife (Eva, Alison Pill) who’s about to have a baby. But our poor lunkhead hero still pines for the ice. Will Doug make his triumphant return? How will he maintain his promise to stop fighting? And how damn vulgar can one hockey team be? All these questions (and more!) are capably addressed in this consistently rambunctious, yet also oddly sweet, follow-up.

It’s not at all surprising that Goon: Last of the Enforcers is packed to the gills with raunchy humor, gruesome brawls, and lots of enjoyable hockey action, but it is nice to note that, like its predecessor, the sequel makes some time for a dash of actual human emotion amidst all the shenanigans. The relationship between Doug and Eva in particular provides some of the film’s best “quieter” moments, and while much of Goon 2 is little more than a well-crafted sitcom of a movie, there’s always something to be said for a sitcom that treats its characters, however broad and silly, as actual human beings.

Speaking of human beings, Goon: Last of the Enforcers is overstuffed with funny ones. Reprising their roles from the original flick are the always-good Alison Pill, Kim Coates (the desperate coach), Elisha Cuthbert (Eva’s humorously profane pal), Marc-Andre Grondin as Doug’s lovably befuddled goalie, and the director himself in a smaller role than the first time around, but he still pops up to be all sorts of gross and childish.

Newcomers include the wonderfully nasty Callum Keith Rennie as a devious team owner, the aforementioned Mr. Russell as the world’s meanest bully, and T.J. Miller as an obtuse sportscaster who nails some very amusing non-sequiturs. And of course Seann William Scott continues to shine in the role of a man who may not be very smart (like, at all) but is more than lovable enough to anchor a crazy sports comedy. (S.W. Scott is one funny s.o.b., and not just as Stifler.)

By its very nature — it’s a Part 2, after all — Goon: Last of the Enforcers may lack some of the invigorating freshness of the first film, but it was clearly made by people who care about Doug Glatt and his weird gang of friends, who don’t mind getting super dirty for a good laugh, and who clearly have a serious obsession with the sport of hockey.

Goon: Last of the Enforcers hits theaters Sept. 1.

4 Tim Horton’s burritos out of 5

Images: Momentum Pictures

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