Not everyone can get into a Kevin Smith movie. It’s been over twenty years since his first film, Clerks, was released. That award-winning indie hit proved that a young filmmaker with little to no budget could make a successful film. Smith proved he had a knack for comedy and writing brilliant dialogue. Fast-forward to present, with a good group of films under his belt, some not so good, Smith is taking time to indulge himself. Most filmmakers cut their teeth making art films or do some experimental work before going mainstream, Smith is doing the opposite. Having jumped onto the scene and finding success with his first film, he never had the chance to make the experimental films (although, one could argue that all his early work was purely self-indulgence and made for himself, and that wouldn’t be far from the truth).
Now that Smith is fairly successful and has diversified into podcasting he has the opportunity to go back and make other types of films that might not be considered traditional. Tusk was one, Yoga Hosers is another. Much like 2014’s Tusk, Yoga Hosers is a movie Smith has made for himself, for purely personal reasons, to see if he could do it, with some dialogue clearly aimed at jabs towards the critics. Actually, you can say he made it for his daughter, Harley Quinn and her friend, Lily-Rose. The pair had so much chemistry together in Tusk, that Smith decided to bring them back in their own film.
As the second film in the True North Trilogy, Yoga Hosers is about two 15-year old girls, Colleen Collette (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith). The Colleens, as they are referred to in the film, are best friends who work after school at the Eh-2-Zed convenience store, owned by Colleen C’s father, Bob (Tony Hale). Stuck behind the counter, they spend their shifts passive aggressively ripping apart any customer who pulls them from their smart phones or from their extended band practice breaks in the back room. All they can think about is their invitation to attend a “grade 12” party hosted by seniors Hunter Calloway (Austin Butler) and Gordon Greenleaf (Tyler Posey). When a failed Nazi experiment in the form of little bratwurst sausage-soldiers, Bratzi’s (all played by Kevin Smith), threaten their chance to party, the girls must join acclaimed manhunter Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp) and fight back.
This is basically a 1980s teen sci-fi comedy, a weird film, to say the least. It’s all made with the tongue-in-cheek humor you would expect from Smith, and the film never takes itself too seriously. It’s a family affair as not only do the Colleen’s real-life fathers, Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp, appear in the film, but their mothers, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith and Vanessa Paradis, make cameos as well. The Smiths and the Depps have made a film that their daughter’s friends can watch; that’s pretty much their target audience. If anyone else likes it, then that’s just icing on the cake.
Also back from Tusk, are Haley Joel Osment, Justin Long, and Genesis Rodriguez, but the real treat is in the third act when the film’s prime antagonist is revealed to be Ralph Garman portraying an old Nazi named Arcane. I guess it’s not a spoiler since I’ve already read elsewhere about his role, but Garman delivers most of his lines doing impersonations of Al Pacino, Adam West, Ed Wynn, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger! Garman owns the third act! It was Arcane who created the Bratzi’s and he’ll use them to power his ultimate creation, the Golem Goalie, a monster-sized sculpture brought to life to wreak havoc on all those who criticized his work. Really, it has to be seen to be believed.
Since this is a family affair for Smith, he had to invite some of his good friends to make cameos! I won’t give them away here but there are at least three good ones that are worth the price of admission, and were good for some few laughs. Yoga Hosers debuted at the Sundance Film Festival to a lackluster reception. Honestly, this film is geared more toward playing at comic conventions and geek fests than Sundance or Cannes.
This film is part Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, part Puppet Master, part Clerks, but with more tiny sausage-soldiers! Honestly, you have to see it to believe it! The film has vivid colors, fun music, great editing, more bad Canadian accent jokes than any other film, and some very unique utilization for yoga. Justin Long gets quite a few laughs during the yoga scenes as the Colleens’ instructor, Yogi Bayer.
So be warned, this film is not for everyone. I saw it in a packed house and everyone applauded and loved the film, however, I’ve heard from many who saw it elsewhere who felt the opposite. It’s definitely not the same as Smith’s early work, but then again, Smith has always said it wouldn’t be. Smith admits it is a film most probably enjoyed by teenage girls, or his die-hard fans. I enjoyed the film but found it far from perfect. However, the little lapses don’t mean all that much if you take it for what it was meant to be. If you ease back expectations a bit and relax, you’ll enjoy yourself.
Yoga Hosers opens in theaters July 29.Share: