Based on a memoir by minor-league enforcer Doug Smith, Goon makes the sport of hockey — its athletes, its fans, its encompassing culture — look like shit. Refined rink rats might cry exploitation, but it all comes from an informed (and Canadian) place, meaning it's less sophomoric skewering than odious love note.
Goon chronicles the Gump-ian rise of Doug "The Thug" Glatt (Seann William Scott), a good-hearted but dimwitted Massachusetts bouncer who uncovers his ability to exact punishment after a penalty-boxed player swings on his heckler friend Ryan, played by Jay Baruchel. ("Look at that face period!" he exclaims as Doug coaxes an HD blood spurt out of the poor bastard's grill.) Immediately earning the coliseum-like adoration of the crowd, Doug is recruited to join the local squad as a fighter, with the sole task of outmuscling any opponent who crosses his teammates. Word of "the tough Yank who beats the shit out of everyone" travels north quickly, resulting in Doug joining a pro club in Halifax, his job protecting headcase star Xavier Laflamme (Marc-André Grondin) setting him on course to trade blows with Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber), a graying goon legend dying to dig his knuckles into his successor's skull.
There are shades of Slap Shot at play in this foul and funny examination of hockey's bizarre tough-guy subculture, which, aside from snappy scripting by Canucks Baruchel and Evan Goldberg (Superbad), is not far removed from the ludicrous crotch-clutching that made HBO's 24/7 Flyers/Rangers so watchable. Scott, for all his bro inclinations, imbues Doug with a sweet, apologetic air that makes him a violent simpleton worth rooting for.