After turning Justin Long into a walrus in Tusk, Kevin Smith returns to direct spin-off sequel Yoga Hosers which sees two young Canadian clerks take on an army of bratwurst nazis with the help of Johnny Depp's off-beat detective Guy Lapointe.
Again loosely based on a conversation had by Smith and Scott Mosier on their Smodcast podcast, Yoga Hosers is the second film in the True North Trilogy which started with Tusk and will end with the upcoming Moosejaws. If Tusk was a horror film with some comedy elements, Yoga Hosers is a much more cartoonish film more akin to something like Scott Pilgrim vs The World but with some schlocky horror themes thrown in. The nutty plot sees the Colleens (played by Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Quinn Smith), two sarcastic clerks at the Eh-2-Zed convenience store who are always on their phones, encounter Canadian satanists before taking on an army of bratwurst nazis. In terms of the horror elements, Yoga Hosers is more of an homage to the Critters or Leprechaun movies with its tongue-in-cheek sense of humour taking nothing seriously and enjoying the all-out mayhem.
The film is packed with cameos fans of Kevin Smith's work will appreciate from Stan Lee to Kevin Conroy and Jason Mewes plus Johnny Depp himself gets a little more screen-time as Guy Lapointe, his most impossibly-accented creation yet. Tusk cast-members Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment and Genesis Rodriguez are also given new roles and they work quite well even though Rodriguez's scene could have easily been cut entirely. There are a few pacing issues with Yoga Hosers and, in fact, quite a few scenes could have been thrown out at the rather slow beginning to make space for a more impressive climax. Perhaps too concerned with including too many cameos early on (Vanessa Paradis, Tony Hale, Natasha Lyonne, Jennifer Schwalbach, Sasheer Zamata), the film suffers from a bloated first two acts and an underwritten third which is a shame because, as soon as Ralph Garman shows up as a demented nazi mad scientist/impressionist, the hilarity finally gets going but it's soon cut short and we don't get to see the hockey mask-wearing monster go on a rampage.
Critics have been pretty rough on this one and, although some of the complaints are not unfounded, it seems odd to violently trash what is, indeed, meant to be a trashy little movie, nothing more. Perhaps the nepotism involved rubbed some people the wrong way which is understandable and Yoga Hosers is a messy movie but it's also frankly harmless. There are some funny lines and moments in the film including the goofiest Batman impressions you'll ever hear, Kevin Smith running around as a tiny sausage, Justin Long having tons of fun as yoga instructor Yogi Bayer and basically everything involving the underrated Ralph Garman. It's a shame that the CGI is not really up to scratch as keeping the effects practical would have actually sold the whole Gremlins vibe a bit better. Had Yoga Hosers been a tad more focused, it could have been another celebrated cult oddity for the director.
As it stands, Yoga Hosers is an entertaining, amusing piece of teen madness with a lot of charm but too many distractions. Most of the in-jokes are much too obscure for the uninitiated to truly "get" and seeing as this is a movie packed with in-jokes, it's no surprise that critics were turned off by it. Fans of Kevin Smith's podcasts and Tusk, however, should have a good time with it.
One for die-hard Smodcast fans only.
Have a week!