As Steve Stifler in the American Pie movies, Seann William Scott's fans are legion - the man has great timing and a gift for slapstick. So, the opportunity to subdue those first-week-in-January blues and see him in a movie all about misfits and machismo and co-starring Eugene Levy (Jim's Dad in American Pie) would appear to be too good to pass up. Sadly, unless you're 16, somewhere in the vicinity of three sheets or halfway through a pizza at 1am, Goon will be a disappointment.
Scott plays Doug Glatt, a bar bouncer and manchild who's a crushing disappointment to his parents (Levy and David) and constantly judged against the success of his brother (Paetkau). Doug, however, has one great talent: he can really throw a punch - making you wonder why he never chose boxing as a career. Instead, another sport comes calling in unusual circumstances.
While supporting his local ice hockey team, the Assassins, Doug has a 'difference of opinion' with an opposing player, decks him and is promptly signed up by his hometown's coach as the team's new enforcer. Doug does what he does best; the (small) crowds love him and soon reports of his prowess reach the Halifax Highlanders, a farm club in Nova Scotia - one rung below the major league.
With the Highlanders' star player Xavier Laflamme (Grondin) having lost his bottle and needing a minder on the ice, Doug is only too happy to take one, two or 20 for the team. But little does anyone - least of all Doug - realise that his arrival will be the catalyst the motley crew needs to transform themselves from no-hopers into play-off contenders.
Written by Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express) and Scott's co-star Baruchel, Goon has too much face smashing and not enough quality rib tickling. Indeed, after the first crack of someone's nose, the shock value diminishes and there isn't enough to take its place: the father-son subplot is wasted, a quirky romance (with Pill) had more potential and Schreiber - excellent as an ageing hockey hard man - doesn't get enough screentime. Given the class of the actors and infinite improv possibilities, the dearth of standout material in Goon is baffling - especially after Goldberg's magic with Superbad. As the lovable lummox, Scott proves in the tender scenes that there's a good straight-up rom-com in him; now hopefully this spring's American Pie: Reunion will provide the watch-again lowbrow delights he's denied here.
Ease the pain with another viewing of Slap Shot - if you haven't seen it, then you really do need to get your skates on.