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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Canadian Film Review: Puck Hogs (2009)


Director: Warren P. Sonoda
Starring: Jeff Geddis, Johnny Gardhouse, Joe Dinicol

I think that the best way to introduce Puck Hogs is to describe one of its big scenes: a player who has been out of the game for a couple of years rejoins the team and when he shows up on game day, everyone jokes that his equipment (which has never been cleaned because he's a dude) smells as if something crawled into his hockey bag and died. They then discover that something did, in fact, crawl into the bag and die - a mouse - and after a minute spent exclaiming about how gross that is, they proceed to pass it around the locker room with their hockey sticks. The game pretty much comes to an end, however, when they find out that a cat had also crawled into the bag and died. It's all very sophisticated and high-brow.

Puck Hogs is about the worst rec hockey team in Canada. They never win and, unless they can prove their ability to compete with the other teams by winning the end of season tournament, the league is going to put the team out to pasture. The team's captain is Jeremy Jeffy (Jeff Geddis) and the team is made up of the usual assortment of misfits, including two brothers who are always at each others throats and self-publish inappropriate books intended for children. The team also reluctantly includes Eddy Monday (Johnny Gardhouse), a player so bad that newspaper editorials have been written encouraging him to give up, but whom the team needs in order to have enough players to qualify to play.

Eddy's main problem is that he's deathly afraid of corners due to an incident in his childhood when he was beaten up by "a brownie and a couple of girl guides." The ongoing trauma of this results in an inability to chase a puck into a corner and is just one of many things that makes Eddy utterly useless as a player. Although it's a comedy, Puck Hogs isn't actually that funny, but what little comedy it does manage comes largely courtesy of Gardhouse, who displays an admirable willingness to be the butt of the joke.

Puck Hogs advertises itself as being in the tradition of This Is Spinal Tap, which is true in so far as both are filmed in the mockumentary form, but that's pretty much where the similarities end. Puck Hogs is a lazy excuse for a movie with characters that are barely two dimensional and plot threads that are only loosely strung together. It gives you the beginning of a storyline and the end, but pretty much skips over the middle which in traditional storytelling is, you know, the part where you develop the characters and make the audience actually care what happens to them.

Should you decide to check this one out, you'll probably get a laugh or two, but ultimately Puck Hogs is the kind of movie that you forget fast.

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