Yoga Hosers – EIFF 2016

EIFF 2016Festival Coverage

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If you didn’t like Tusk, then chances are you could find Kevin Smith’s latest schlocky comedy adventure Yoga Hosers an absolute irritation. Smith’s latest addition to the True North Trilogy is a direct spin-off from Tusk which harks back to Clerks, fusing his earlier structure and themes with his later, more outré genre work. This is going to be another marmite film for most people.

The key problem with Yoga Hosers is that it feels like a petulant response to the criticism of Tusk. Critic baiting must be fun, but it isn’t necessarily the best way to build a film. For me, Tusk was the black comedy Canadian/American version of The Human Centipede, a film so daft that the performances of its two key players anchored it firmly to the horror genre and guaranteed at least some degree of wincing, not to mention one of Michael Park’s best turns since Red State. On the other hand, Tusk flaunted a stupid sense of humour that often threatened to capsize the film’s firmer moments. Yoga Hosers, is pretty much constructed out of all those parts that caused Tusk some aesthetic and comic bumps.

Johnny Depp returns to breathe foetid life into his walking French stereotype Guy Lepointe, and it’s even more tiresome. The exaggerated Canadian accent worn by the whole cast is grating as all Hell too. But beyond that, there’s actually something quite charming at work here. It’s often really funny, has a superb sense of energy, and relies heavily on the natural chemistry of Lily Rose-Depp and Harley Quinn Smith . The dodgy CGI is so consistent (like Long’s walrus suit in Tusk) that it actually fits the day-glo teen-dream vibe. The comedy tosses and turns between cringey over-statement and subtle reference. Kevin Conroy (voice of the animated Batman) turns up for a cheeky cameo, Natasha Lyonne (Antibirth) and Tony Hale (Arrested Development) appear as Colleen’s parents, and the list of cameos goes on and on. By the time the film lets its Bratzies (hot-dogs that are actually wee Nazis) come out to play, you’ll have either settled into the humour or will lose interest very quickly.

Essentially, Smith has gifted his and Depp’s daughters with their own zany Clerks: a world where two young kick-ass girls get a chance to defend millennials without the overbearing cynicism of anyone above 30. The film is at its best when it swings into its own jazz, but stumbles when Smith’s critic-rage rears its pissy noggin. There’s an age-range and a brand of Smith fan that will adore this, but for most viewers it will be an alienating trip through silliness. Only the second instalment of Smith’s Canadian trilogy, we can look forward to/dread a final instalment of an oddly irritating, but totally unique set of films.

Scott Clark

Dir. Scott Clark
Stars: Lily Rose-Depp, Harley Quinn Smith, Justin Long, Natasha Lyonne, Johnny Depp

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