A lot of people have turned on Kevin Smith in recent years but not me! I enjoyed the hell out of Red State and thought Tusk was a good time, if only because I never quite got over the fact that I was watching such a bat shit insane movie. I love that we live in a world where Tusk gets to exist. I’d read the advanced word on Yoga Hosers and figured “Pft, y’all just want to hate on Kevin Smith! Not me though! I can’t wait for Yoga Hosers.”
Ok it turns out that these people may have been on to something and while I didn’t hate Yoga Hosers, it is certainly Kevin Smith’s weakest output to date. And yes, that includes Jersey Girl…though fuck it, I like Jersey Girl too.
Yoga Hosers features the two Colleen characters who we briefly caught a glimpse of in Tusk, as the two employees of a Canadian convenience store called Eh to Zed. They are played by Harley Smith and Lily-Rose Depp, who are of course the daughters of director Kevin Smith, and actor Johnny Depp. For the first part of the movie we mostly just watch them hang out and sing in their band. It’s not until later that they stumble upon the evil plot of a bunch of Canadian Nazis who command an army of Brahtzi, which are in fact little sausages with mounty outfits who yell German nonsense. And they are all played by Kevin Smith in heavy make-up. And they kill people by jumping up into their assholes. Yoga Hosers is a weird fuckin’ movie.
The plot in Yoga Hosers is remarkably thin. This isn’t necessarily a new thing in Kevin Smith movies, but there was always character arcs and relationships to keep things moving forward. Here I spent the first chunk wondering if there was even going to be a story. Typically, Smith’s lack of plot is saved by enjoyable characters and sharp dialogue, but there’s not much of either going on here. The jokes miss far more than they hit. The obsession with bad Canadian accents gets old fast, with every character saying “aboot” and “sorr’y, or “Sorry aboot that” near constantly. It never lets up though so strap in!
The main reason to watch Yoga Hosers is the two leads, Lily-Rose and Harley. They have a great chemistry together and it’s always fun to just watch them interact with one another, which is good because they don’t always have a whole lot to do. In just the first 20 minutes, they are given two musical numbers and a montage, none of which serve much of a purpose to the actual movie, but they help make it watchable. I genuinely hope we continue to see both more of Depp and Smith as the two of them have an ease in front of the camera that makes me think they are ready for deeper and better roles that don’t require them to say that things are “basic” constantly.
The supporting cast is full of great actors as well, but none fare nearly as well as the two leads. Justin Long does wring a few chuckles out of his role as a yoga instructor named Yogi Bayer, though yes there are more lame jokes about that name than you would hope. Ralph Garman is unfortunately relegated to doing the same tired impressions (Pacino, Stallone, Adam West, etc) you’ve heard him do 1000 times if you listen to Hollywood Babble-on. Johnny Depp does return as his character from Tusk, Guy Lapointe, and while I think he fares better here, I still can’t get behind this character. I just don’t think he’s that funny. It feels like the things he’s saying should be funny, but that is rarely the case.
Yoga Hosers clearly wants to get by on the defense that “well it’s supposed to be stupid”, and clearly that is absolutely the case. It’s not made for the critics, which is made abundantly clear when it’s revealed the villain’s main plan involves murdering all critics, who are also referred to as not being real people. I get that Smith is sick of critics talking shit about him, but I really wish that sentiment was part of a better movie. It’s one thing to say that this movie is not for the critics but for the fans, but here I am as a huge fan who also did not enjoy the movie. The message just doesn’t apply here, though at least its not as bad as Lady in the Water in that regard.
I wanted to like Yoga Hosers, I truly did. Again, I didn’t fully hate it by any means, largely thanks to charming and fun performances by the two leads, and a few scattered laughs here and there. It should have given me the same reaction as Tusk, leaving me sitting in bewilderment and wondering “wow, I can’t believe this movie exists.” I was still saying that I suppose, but for the same positive reasons as Tusk.