Yoga Hosers (2016)
Critic Consensus: Undisciplined, unfunny, and bereft of evident purpose, Yoga Hosers represents a particularly grating low point in Kevin Smith's once-promising career.
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as Colleen Collette
as Colleen McKenzie
as Guy Lapointe
as Yogi Bayer
as Adrien Arcand
as Ms. Wicklund
as Old Man Arcane
as Toilet Paper Man
as Bob Collette
as Hunter Calloway
as Gordon Greenleaf
as Rogue Cop
as Ms. McKenzie
as Ms. Maurice
as Goalie Golem
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Critic Reviews for Yoga Hosers
What makes Smith a dynamic podcaster -- his shambolic, off-the-cuff storytelling -- is his undoing as a filmmaker.
If the creators of South Park had made it, Yoga Hosers might have been hysterical.
The entire film has the strange feel of watching an elaborately produced home movie to be played at a holiday party rather than a movie theater.
Writer-director-comic-book-artist-cult-figure Kevin Smith's latest exercise in questionable taste goes literally from bad to wurst.
It all seems like something that was hatched during a particularly neuron-impaired free-association game.
Smith seems to have soured to the idea of making films for anyone outside his circle of fans, podcast co-hosts, and family members. Yoga Hosers, the latest feature-length podcast digression from Smith, proves how small that circle really is.
Audience Reviews for Yoga Hosers
It's obvious that Kevin Smith's career has been, quality-wise, been on a downward spiral post-2000. The way that Mr. Smith has reacted to this has been the ultimate in whiny bitchiness. Complaining about the fact that film critics are just failed filmmakers and how they can't criticize what he does unless they do it. But I bet Smith would be a-ok if these critics praised every movie he's made. He needs to grow up and realize that not liking one of his films isn't a personal attack. This is part of the reason why I've sort of grown to dislike Smith, he comes across like a whiny little manchild when people don't like his movies. And this isn't even coming from someone who has relentlessly criticized his worse movies, like Cop Out, which did suck. Anyway, the point of the matter is that Smith has just sort of retreated onto himself and just made films that amuse him and his fans and no one else. That was obvious with Tusk, a film that I thought was his best since Clerks 2. It's a film that was conceived on an episode of one of Kevin's podcast, at least the idea. And it wouldn't surprise me if this film was much the same way, there's some post-credits stuff with Smith and someone else that I only caught the end of and just didn't bother to go back and listen to it. Anyway, the point is, it's obvious that this film was made for self-indulgent purposes. It's a home movie that was made for himself, his friends and his family. And I believe Kevin Smith himself even said that this was the stupidest film ever made. I'm not sure about that, but I'm sure I read that somewhere. And that really is an undeniable fact, this is a stupid movie. Is it the stupidest movie ever made? I don't know, I find it unlikely. I think the stupidest movie ever made would have to be made something that was made earnestly, not something that's purposely stupid from the get-go. Really, though, who doesn't like a legitimately good stupid movie every now and again? It's fun to just shut off your brain and partake in something that embraces an absurdist tone. And this is that very movie. Though the fact that it's a stupid doesn't mean that it's a good one. Nor does it shield it from legitimate criticism, which I'm sure some people had. But, if I'm being completely honest, in spite of the fact that it's actually a really unfunny movie, I found this to be somewhat charming regardless. And, really, that is mostly due to the fact that Harley Quinn Smith and Lily Rose Depp are surprisingly energetic in their roles. They're obviously not the most talented comedic actresses available, but they do a good job with their characters and they were having a blast doing this movie. That enthusiasm definitely helped the movie a lot, perhaps not as much as it could have, but their enthusiasm makes it easier to watch the film during the parts that aren't that funny. And, realistically speaking, that's the majority of the movie. I also like the fact that the movie just did pretty much did just about every stupid thing they could have done under the book. Of course, that stupidity feels manufactured instead of organic, but I sitll have to give them props for just trying absolutely everything under the book, even if it fell flat. The film also pokes fun at critics, by basing the entire villain's motivation to create this goalie golem, yes, complete with hockey mask, to kill everyone who ever said a mean thing about him. Yes, really, that's all it is about really. I honestly think that this would have been better served as a short movie to be included as an extra on a DVD release or something. Smith has a dedicated fanbase and I'm sure they would've paid money to see this. Money that they didn't pay to ACTUALLY see this in theaters. The movie was a commercial and critical failure, pretty much on an epic level, since a lot of people consider this to be the low point of Smith's career, even WITH Cop Out. But this, to me, has all the makings of a cult movie that will only grow in popularity the more time passes. It's just that type of movie. It's not ahead of its time, not even close, there's more absurd movies out there that are considerably better, but I still expect a cult following for this, if there isn't one already. If I'm being objective, this is a bad movie on pretty much every level. It's not funny and it goes on longer than it probably should have. Harley's and Lily's energy and enthusiasm isn't enough to make this a good movie, but as far as bad movies go, this was one that I could tolerate and somewhat enjoy it as it was meant to be, not as it probably should have been if more thought was put into it. I wouldn't really recommend it though, it's just too insane for it to appeal to a wide audience. If you know what you're getting into, a home movie where Smith got together with his friends and his family to make a silly movie, then you can get something out of it. If not, then stay away from it.
Kevin Smith has been a filmmaker who has flouted expectations. When people didn't think the Clerks guy could make a religious thriller, he did it. When people said a movie about a man being transformed into a walrus creature was undoable, he did it. I was a moderate fan of Tusk, that man-as-walrus-as-Frankenstein movie that started as a joke premise from Smith's popular podcast and then given strange cinematic life. Yoga Hosers is the second part in Smith's "True North" trilogy of Canadian-set horror films. I wasn't expecting much with Yoga Hosers and I felt like I got even less than that. Colleen Collete (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith) are bored clerks at a Winnipeg convenience store. Their world is turned upside down when an attractive senior boy invites them to a "grade 12" party. Too bad they have to work, though even when on the clock the girls hardly work, instead preferring to jam in the back storage room as a fledging rock band. The girls have bigger threats than unruly customers. They'll have to battle bad Satanists, forgotten Canadian Nazis, and tiny bratwurst men who leak sauerkraut when smashed. What's a Canuck to do? The two areas that have always been the hallmarks of a Kevin Smith movie, his idiosyncratic characterization and ribald humor, are both strangely absent and desperately needed. Within the first ten minutes of the movie, I turned to my friend and confided, "I think I hate these girls already." It's somewhat ironic that Smith has gone back again to the bored convenience store clerks as the platform for his heroes. Where Dante and Randall were railing against pop-culture, adult responsibility, and a society that constantly made them feel inferior for their menial occupations, these girls aren't railing against anything. If anything they're retreating from the world, their noses constantly glued to their smart phones and social media. The excursions with youth culture feel rather inauthentic. The teen dialogue lacks comic snap and repeats phrases too often that it feels like set-up for T-shirt slogans ("Basic!"). Smith is far from his territory of dick and fart jokes and esoteric pop-culture detours. We're introduced to many new characters with a slam edit of an Instagram-like cover page accompanied by an irritatingly chirpy 8-bit score. The intro graphics appear so quickly to have little impact other than annoyance. The lead characters have no engaging personalities. They have an infatuation with older, cute boys, a love of yoga, a general attitude with authority, and a common level of self-involvement, but they're not characters. They're goofy but rarely are they grounded or better developed. One girl is daft and the other girl is... less daft. I'm not expecting these characters to have depth considering this is a movie with one-foot tall killer bratwurst Nazis, but some degree of personality is demanded. It's the bare minimum. Smith's millennial satire is fairly toothless, which sadly is much like the comedy of Yoga Hosers. I hope you like puns and jokes about how funny Canadian accents are. The Colleens says "soory aboot that" and isn't that hilarious? How about a convenience store called "Eh-2-Zed"? How about a yogi whose name is Yogi Bayer? How about an off-brand version of Lucky Charms called Pucky Charms? Why are there so many freaking puns? Then there's the re-emergence of Johnny Depp's wacky Quebec investigator, Guy Lapointe, allowing Depp to indulge his tendency for prosthetics and heavy accents. The shticky Lapointe character absolutely derailed Tusk and whatever unsettling momentum had been built, but he feels far more at home in the goofy world of Yoga Hosers. I might even say his presence is one of the highlights, as once more Depp gets to sink his teeth into all the Peter Sellers physical comedy tics he's been holding back. There's just not enough comedy to go around here. There are goofy elements that crash into one another, like the Brat-Zis and a gigantic Goalie Golem, but it feels very much like Smith is just throwing a lot of dispirit elements together and expecting cohesion. He might even be expecting the audience to be satiated just in seeing something "different." While Red State and Tusk were films that had sharp tonal shifts, Yoga Hosers never really settles into the silly supernatural teen comedy it desires to be. I laughed here and there but it was mostly attributed to Smith letting his more capable comic actors go off on tangents, like Justin Long's yogi and his unorthodox poses. Ralph Garman, Smith podcast regular, shows up late as a Nazi who prefers to discuss his plans via celebrity impressions, a talent of Garman's. It's the kind of "hell, why not?" plotting that dominates the movie and makes you wonder if there ever was a finished script. I doubt any version of this story would have materialized if it wasn't starring the daughters of Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp, and I don't have a huge issue with this. Nepotism has been a core function of Hollywood for over a hundred years, and if Smith wants to create a vehicle for his daughter, by all means. The two young ladies have an pleasant chemistry and are believable BFFs. Their back-and-forth will occasionally elevate the jokes, like their insistent yet limited Batman impressions. Harley Quinn Smith has an enjoyable mugging quality that shows she's studied her expressions from the school of Silent Bob. Her companion, Lily-Rose Depp, may be the real breakout. She's the more consistent actor and the stronger anchor for the film. Even when the dialogue lets her down she still infuses a notable energy into her performance. There's an emerging talent under the surface that looks ready for discovery, and perhaps the French film Planetarium with Natalie Portman will make others take notice. I get the impression that Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp are proud papas and just wanted to have fun together as a family. Consider the movie the equivalent of a quirky sweet 16-birthday party. Yoga Hosers is a movie for a very select group of people, perhaps only Smith's immediate family, friends, and most ardent of podcast listeners. I doubt that's me. I've been a Smith fan since my own teens. His was one of the cinematic voices that awoken my own sense of what movies could be. I miss the caustic wit that separated Smith from the indie pack. The man was one of the few writers who could spin crass vulgarity into Shakespearean gold. He was a writing talent that many emulated but few could reproduce. Smith's whip-smart comic perspective has always been his biggest cinematic draw, but with Yoga Hosers it feels decidedly neutered and wound down. I know he has gone on record saying he's making the movies he wants to make without interference, but it doesn't feel like the same Smith. Admittedly, a filmmaker in his early 20s is going to have a different perspective and creative impulses than a husband and father in his mid 40s. This apparently means that Smith has veered away from his conversational comedies and button-pushing topics and bought fully into genre filmmaking, mixing a pastiche of horror elements and varying tones. As an artist he doesn't owe me or any other fans anything. Yoga Hosers might be a one-off, a love letter to his teen daughter and her bestie, or it could portend what is to come. Kevin Smith is making movies for himself at this point in his career. If you feel left out in that equation, like me, that's okay. We can always go back and watch Clerks again. From my viewpoint, it feels like Smith is voluntarily erasing what made him a unique cinematic voice and choosing to disappear into the benign morass of schlocky genre filmmaking. Nate's Grade: C-
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