Yoga Hosers (2016)
Directed By Kevin Smith
Starring Johnny Depp, Lily-Rose Depp, Harley Quinn Smith, Adam Brody, Justin Long, Natasha Lyonne, Haley Joel Osment, Genesis Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, Tony Hale, Ralph Garman, Tony Hale, Harley Morenstein, Tyler Posey, Austin Butler, Jason Mewes and Vanessa Paradis.
Two teenage yoga enthusiasts team up with a legendary man-hunter to battle with an ancient evil presence that is threatening their major party plans.
Say what you want about Kevin Smith’s movies, but there’s no denying that they’re products of self-expression. Like all auteurs, he makes movies for himself, and if you don’t like them it’s not going to stop him from continuing to feed his own artistic hunger. Granted, his artistic hunger often comes from the munchies, but if that sparks unique creativity then so be it. When he unleashed Clerks 22 years ago, he was a lowly convenience store employee who threw caution to the wind and pursued his dream of making a film by maxing out credit cards. All he wanted to do was make a movie that him and his friends wanted to see, and he was willing to pay off debts for the rest of his life just to say he tried. He made that movie, and thankfully it paid off; but that same artistic pursuit has proven to be indelible throughout his career. It’s the reason he’s still working today, and the reason why his fans remain loyal supporters of even his wackiest visions – and Yoga Hosers might just be the wackiest of them all.
Following on from the outrageous body horror Tusk, part two in his “True North’’ trilogy – a thrice of bizarre horror comedies taking place in Canada – sees Smith operating at his most gleefully unhinged. The story centres around Colleen Collette (Lily-Rose Melody Depp) and Collen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith), a pair of social media obsessed yoga enthusiasts from Manitoba who must team up with man-hunter Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp) to stop a finger-sized fascist uprising in their hometown. Think Clueless in the Nazi critter universe of Elves, only nuttier than squirrel faeces. According to Smith, the film is his throwback to the horror B movies of the ‘80’s he used to watch growing up. As a connoisseur of those types movies, I was impressed with Yoga Hosers and its ability to constantly outdo itself with silliness.
The film opens with the Collettes rocking out in the back of a convenience store when they’re supposed to be on duty. When they aren’t doing yoga or glued to their smartphones, they like to perform rock ‘n’ roll with their 35-year-old drummer Ichabod (Adam Brody). When they do serve the customers, they’re obnoxious brats (like the teenage girl counterparts of Dante and Randal in many ways, minus the pop cultural musings). That being said, their poor attitudes are just a part of their charm, and with them, Smith has created a pair of charming pawns whom he uses to satire modern youth with all the subtly of an atomic bomb. However, the actresses are perfect in their roles, and their friendship feels wholly sincere. These are two characters worth spending 90 minutes with.
One of the main criticisms of Tusk was Johnny Depp’s Guy Lapointe character. His appearance marked a sudden tonal shift the movie ultimately suffered because of. When Smith announced that he’d be reprising the role for Yoga Hosers, it was a cause of concern to many fans who were hoping the director would return to form. Tusk was a polarising movie that divided the filmmaker’s loyal supporters; it was also admirably brave and felt like the film of a rejuvenated director having fun again. The audience might not have been, but at least Smith was. In Yoga Hosers, Lapointe blends into the overall tone perfectly, and the results are stupidly entertaining.
The movie does contain a few too many Canadian jokes, and after a while they feel repetitive occasionally. The humour in general is juvenile and won’t sit well with a lot of viewers. However, I had fun with Yoga Hosers; it was mindless unadulterated silliness and the crowd laughed throughout. Like most of Smith’s movies, it’s packed with sincerity and heart that lifts it tenfold.
This is a film made for fathers to spend time with his daughters – something they’ll look back on one day and laugh about. Everybody is clearly having such a good time onscreen and it resonated with the audience in the theatre, so don’t let the further inevitable lambasting put you off seeing it. This movie will leave you with a smile on your face if you just want to kickback and unwind. Smith’s recent career choices have seen him move away from the reality-based slacker comedies he was renowned for into more experimental fare; but he’s still as carefree, ambitious and reckless as he was back in 1994, and that’s what makes his movies feel like special events for fans. He’s still the same risk-taker at 45 he was when he was 23, and while those risks might not always pay off, they are what makes him so intriguing.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★