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Yoga Hosers – Review

 
 
Overview
 

Release Date: 2 September 2016
 
Director: Kevin Smith
 
Writer: Kevin Smith
 
Cast: Harley Quinn Smith - Lily-Rose Depp - Adam Brody - Natasha Lyonne - Justin Long - Johnny Depp
 
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3.5/5


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Posted July 3, 2016 by

 
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Yoga Hosers Review:

The commercial prospects for a midnight movie aimed at twelve year old girls seems decidedly iffy – at least for its theatrical run – for ‘Yoga Hosers’, Kevin Smith’s critic-baiting follow-up to his barely seen ‘Tusk’. Smith is best known, deservedly so, for his black and white low budget slacker comedy ‘Clerks’ released in 1995, about a pair of convenience store employees. He has had an iffy career since, following it with the lustre-lacking ‘Mallrats’, the much better boy falls for lesbian romance, ‘Chasing Amy’, the self-indulgent ‘Dogma’, the more self-indulgent ‘Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back’, the sentimental yuk fest ‘Jersey Girl’, the partial return to form ‘Clerks II’, the career nose-dive ‘Zack and Miri Make a Porno’, the Bruce Willis-Tracy Morgan studio comedy ‘Cop Out’, the ‘this is my last film ever’ ‘Red State followed most recently by the 2014 low-concept young man is turned into a walrus movie, ‘Tusk’.

Smith, who describes himself not as a writer, director or Silent Bob but as a podcaster, can talk a movie. He is the kind of director whom you imagine gets funding just to shut him up. In the flesh, and he is touring with ‘Yoga Hosers’ at $40 a ticket prior to its theatrical release in September, he is an inspirational speaker, still rocking a backward facing baseball cap indoors after 22 years. He tells his audience, half of whom are would-be filmmakers, ‘imitate then innovate’ and replace skill with will. He does not pretend he is a big deal, but he must know to his thousands of fans willing to pay $40 or £25 (in the UK) that he is. He makes few demands of his actors, except to encourage them to watch playback to improve their performance. He doesn’t have to make suggestions; the actors do it themselves.

Smith has the skill to make any film he likes but he doesn’t seem to be able to will the movies he wants to make, ‘Hit Somebody’ (a hockey comedy), ‘Clerks III’ and ‘Mallrats II’ into being. He has a positive mindset, practical Scientological – wouldn’t it be cool if he turns out to have been a Scientologist all along? ‘Yoga Hosers’ isn’t terrible but it displays a profound lack of ambition.

How can I say that when the film tells the story of two Canadian teenage girls Colleen McKenzie and Colleen Collette (Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp) who find that their convenience store is besieged by one-foot tall Wiener sausage Nazis (all played by Kevin Smith) in what he describes as ‘Clueless meets Ghoulies’? Because even though it’s enjoyably silly, it doesn’t go very far. It needs a more developed reveal and a few twists. It is, as its teenage protagonists frequently proclaim, ‘basic’.

Its unofficial inspiration is ‘Scott Pilgrim Vs The World’, Edgar Wright’s comic-book-powered 2010 film about a teenager who faces off against his girlfriend’s seven evil-exes. That film with its wintery setting might almost have been set in Canada. Smith is inspired by the exotic nature of North America’s bilingual near-neighbour and for the possibility to make fun of the locals’ accent (‘sorry boot that’). Like Scott, the two Colleens are in a band, rehearsing during extended toilet breaks with their tattooed drummer Ichabod (Adam Brody). They aspire to normality, having been invited to a senior party, but have to face a fantastical menace.

The supporting cast is truly eclectic from Natasha Lyonne as a floozy store manager (‘what happened to my beavers?’) to Vanessa Paradis as a history teacher and Haley Joel Osment as a Canadian Nazi. The star turn comes from Johnny Depp hidden behind make-up and a moustache as Manitoban monster hunter Guy Lapointe, whose voice sounds like the German comedian Henning Wehn. The role of Guy was originally offered to Quentin Tarantino, who sent a two word response: ‘F-k no.’

After the first attack by some Bratzis who interrupt the Colleens inaugural attempt to host a party in their store, ‘Eh to Zed’, the finale is an anti-climax with a villain who does vocal impressions of Al Pacino, Sylvester Stallone, and the ‘original Batman’ Adam West – cue for the girls to impersonate Christian Bale, their original Batman. Some of the effects courtesy of Robert Kurtzman are proper yuk-making but every time the girls despatch some Bratzis, once with the line ‘I’m not supposed to be here today’ the killer sausages die like the characters in ‘Kingsman: the Secret Service’ as digital light effects. Smith has gone for a PG-13 rating, but there is no point.

There is a running joke of the girls’ yoga teacher, Yogi Bayer (Justin Long) being slapped a cease and desist order by Warner Bros lawyers for his name, then the alternative, ‘Boo Boo Bayer’. At its heart are two teenage Satanists who intend to kill the Colleens – hardly the stuff for a PG-13 movie for 12 year olds.

The best aspect of the film is the production design with a running joke on ‘Pucky Charms’ and ‘Insta-cam’ descriptions of each character. When the girls have their mobile phones confiscated and one of the Colleens faints, you roll your eyes with the obviousness of the joke.

What Smith didn’t do is seek the opinion of 12 year old teenage girls for his movie: who knows, they may prefer ‘Clueless’ without ‘Ghoulies’. The film indulges his desire to write a vehicle for his teenage daughter and her best friend, the daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis. It is not the worst (or wurst) reason to make a film, but not the best one either. My worry for him is that Harley Quinn Smith will suddenly realise that her father put her in a not-very-entertaining movie for everyone to see. How embarrassing!

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Larry Oliver
@LarryOliverFilm
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