Yoga Hosers. 2016. Directed & Written by Kevin Smith.
Starring Lily-Rose Depp, Harley Quinn Smith, Adam Brody, Harley Morenstein, Ashley Greene, Jack Depp, Austin Butler, Tyler Posey, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, Justin Long, Tony Hale, Natasha Lyonne, Genesis Rodriguez, Vanessa Paradis, Kevin Conroy, Stan Lee, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Haley Joel Osment, & Johnny Depp.
Abbolita Productions/Destro Films/Invincible Pictures.
Rated PG-13. 88 minutes.
I was one of the few who actually enjoyed Tusk, a ton. It was cheesy, but it was also fun, creepy, and totally wild. Before that, Kevin Smith brought me back into the fold of those that enjoy his films (he lost me for a few years) with Red State; I honestly fucking love that movie, endlessly. So when he announced Yoga Hosers, even the concept had me chuckling. Although I worried maybe the one note Canadian jokes from Tusk might not translate well into an entirely other whole movie.
And worried I was, rightfully.
Listen, when it comes to Smith, I do feel like he’s got a skill for quirky writing that doesn’t go overboard, keeping things silly enough while still staying hilarious. But sweet lord, does he ever shit all over the page on this one. I get that he feels like this was a labour of love, that it was sort of a film for him. Kudos. That doesn’t make the movie any good.
Yoga Hosers has fun bits, although rare. The lead performances from Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Quinn Smith are the best part, their energy and charisma are some of the only things that make this movie even bearable. Most of all I worry about the next part of Smith’s True North trilogy, Moose Jaws, simply because he’s applied for funding. I mean, maybe if he were trying to make something else it’d be different. Tusk was a movie I loved; it wasn’t actually a great movie. Quality seems to have diminished wildly in this second instalment. Makes me curious what will happen next in the hard to tolerate adventures of the two Colleens.
My biggest beef is the Canadian stuff. I thought the briefness of that material in Tusk was enough, even that pushed it. Coming from a brutally self-deprecating Canadian, a Newfoundlander at that, these jokes wear thin, mighty quick. I love when good jokes come across, and they do at times. I feel like Smith could’ve hit a lot better notes as a comedy writer. Maybe if he’s going solo on the next one, bring in a Canadian writer to give you a bit of help. I’ll admit, when Justin Long does the “Namaste, eh” line, I fucking cracked up. I don’t even like Long. Other than that, his character and accent are awful. Sounds like a cross of Irish and North Dakota. So many lines from him are awful, so many lines from EVERYONE, simply due to the fact no Canadian would ever say this shit. Ever. Ever. Ever. The constant repetition of “aboot” does not make me laugh, it only gets annoying. To the point I wished Smith would just give up.
I dig the style of the film overall – the special effects during each character introduction, sound effects galore, those funny and eerie flashbacks to the French-Canadian Nazi Party. All that is enjoyable enough. It’s unpretentious, silly, which is what Smith was going for obviously. The only truly enjoyable part of the whole movie is that you can see Smith had fun shooting. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about silliness! At all. Problem is that there’s not enough smarts or real, genuine laughs to make the whole debacle worth it.
The hockey stuff, the “aboot” over and over, how the accents don’t hold up across dialogue and certain characters, a couple terrible performances – including Ralph Garman, as well as the dialogue written for him that was excruciating – a whopping, terrible finale and final fight… this all adds up to a real turd.
What I loved, as I mentioned before, are the two performances from Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Quinn Smith. They’re charming and awesome as the two convenience store girls, for the most part; they can’t help what Papa Smith wrote, they do their best. At least their energy is infectious enough to keep the viewer’s attention.
Likewise, Johnny Depp’s return as Guy LaPointe is fucking riotous. His makeup, the entire attitude, that French-English accent, he’s drop dead funny. LaPointe’s one of my favourites of his characters. Sadly, one of the only very few aspects that are decent about Yoga Hosers. Definitely not enough to make the experience enjoyable.
“This is what happens when you publish a poop”
When people say they want to like a movie, and then don’t, I understand. This is one of those films for me. Yoga Hosers, I wanted to like. Desperately. I do like Smith, even if a few of his efforts are junk. Part of me was hoping he’d prove people wrong, make another weird yet actually enjoyable piece of work like Tusk (even if I’m in the minority here). Too bad.
Guy LaPointe and the two Colleens make for the sole moments worth your time. Not near enough to love. I don’t know. Maybe someone out there digs this kind of thing. In my mind, Smith wasted his time, as well as his fans. Not even some of the die hard Smith lovers are going to find this any good. Striking in too many directions, suffering from poor writing, Yoga Hosers falls flat even in one of those so-bad-it’s-good ways.
Please, Kevin: do something better with Moose Jaws. If not, don’t apply for funding. Especially if it’s Canadian. I know a bunch of filmmakers that could and would put the money to better use than “For my own enjoyment” projects like this is so clearly. And even then, no excuse for this kind of dreck.