I had the rare occasion of having to run to see a Canadian movie while in Canada, since it won’t be released in the States. Having just re-watched, and re-loved Goon, I took a chance on its sequel, which was by then only playing at 3pm and 10pm. Sadly, everything that was good about Goon, and all of your goodwill toward it, is wasted by its piss-poor sequel, which gathers all of the actors from the first film and… well, that seems to be the full extent of the effort anyone made here. I like Jay Baruchel, who wrote and directed here, but the main thing I’ll take away from this film is that Evan Goldberg, with which he wrote the first film, must be the one with all the talent. Another factor, which may have been huge, is that the first was adapted from a book, while this story had to be purely invented, and gee, the creative vacuum is quite palpable.
The movie opens with everyone from the old lovable team back in place, and visibly older… so much older, in fact, one suspects they probably wouldn’t still be playing. Suddenly the team has a craven asshole owner, and he has an angry son, who is an enforcer for a competing team. The first thing he does is beat the shit out of Doug, our winsome hero, to the point where Doug is forced to retire from the sport. At this point, expectations went through the roof as I thought: “Wait a minute! Is this film going to be like the first; an interesting character story placed within the context of a sport? And is this one going to about an angry son trying to get back at his asshole dad, with Doug and the team caught in the middle of their feud?” Because that sounds like a fucking interesting movie, right? But tragically, this movie is only enough about that to make you angry that it couldn’t make something of the potential it had there in its hands.
Both the father and son actors in that scenario are quite good—the son is played by the always-excellent Wyatt Russell—only neither of them have developed parts to play. Toward the end, the son sends a puck directly into his Dad’s face… only this big moment is only part of a few story shards, not a complete narrative. Oh, and please note the super-red eyes of the son in some shots of the final scene, and not other shots. There’s also a significant shot of Doug blinking after being hit, as though this might be heading toward a brain damage storyline. But no–it’s nothing, and goes nowhere.
The movie has about four storylines going—the father/son one, Doug has to get a desk job, Doug’s wife is pregnant and he might have to give up first hockey, then fighting… and the movie just arbitrarily switches between them, barely developing any, until finally it just ends, nothing resolved.
Liev Schreiber’s Ross Rhea, at the end of his career, and a second away from irreparable brain trauma at the close of the last film, is still at it and somehow able to rejoin the team. Of course, it kind of seems that there are absolutely no rules about who can join which team, and pretty much everyone is just flipping onto and off of teams throughout the film.
All of the actors, and God bless them for showing up, are shortchanged by the shitty script. They’re all great, but not one of them has a complete part to play here. But the most shortchanged is our star, Seann William Scott, who revealed himself as so brightly talented as to become an underseen sensation in the first film, barely registers here. The film fundamentally misunderstands his character; at one point we see Doug has written his name, and spelled it “Dug.” In the first film, he was not bright, but here he is mentally disabled. It is just plain wrong, and insultingly dumb. Then the film barely gives him anything to do—certainly not a full part to play or an arc for his character—as if they just don’t trust him to play the part he waltzed away with in the first film.
Anyway, given that they got the whole cast of terribly talented actors back, and that they had a really interesting new angle to go in and two great new actors to take it there… the whole thing is just a terrible, terrible disappointment.