Come back to America Woody! Spare all of these other countries of your quirkiness!
The film is made up of four distinct vignettes of people in Italy —some American, some Italian, some residents, some visitors—and the romantic adventures they get into.
After last year’s sleeper-hit, Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen seemed like he was destined for a real comeback and people would start taking him seriously again. Sadly, he sort of knocks that reputation back down in the ground.
This whole film is played off as a bunch of skits, that just take place over one movie without any real connection to one another, other than the fact that they all take place in the same city. This would have totally worked perfectly if any of these skits were as interesting as they seemed to be. Allen’s writing is usually funny and witty, but here, a lot of it feels forced and a lot of the skits get drawn-out a little too much to the point of where it’s over-kill and you just want him to move onto the next story. Problem with that, is the next story is probably more lame than the one that preceded. Therefore, you just have a bunch of skits that don’t work and you can’t really look forward to.
I usually get Allen’s sense of humor, which in some cases, I did here as well, but I don’t think there was a single serious moment in this film. All of the drama here, is downplayed and made to be like it doesn’t exist just because these characters and these stories are too zany and wild for it. To me, I thought there could have been some more emotional honesty to this product, especially when you have stories about couples that are sleeping around on one another. Now I wasn’t asking for Allen to get down and dirty with his dramatic self, but I was just asking for a bit more drama here than I actually got.
Although, as lame as this film may be, most of it is made better because of the cast, some of which are great, and some of which that just don’t hit the right notes. Woody Allen‘s long-awaited return to the front of the screen, is probably the highlight of this movie, not only because he knows how to sell his own material perfectly, but because it seems like his character will never grow old or get annoying. He’s just Woody Allen being Woody Allen, and that’s all I asked for. Well, that’s all I asked for when it come to the acting department. Penelope Cruz brings a lot of flair to her role as a sexy call-girl, in one of the stories that actually is a lot more interesting and could have been played out in it’s own film alone.
Another good performance from this cast is from Alec Baldwin, even though it was very unsure what the hell his character actually was in this movie. He comes off as a narrator for this one story involving Eisenberg, then everybody else sees him and can communicate with him, but then he just sort of shows up out of nowhere, like a ghost who just won’t go away. I really didn’t get this character and what made it even worse was that the story he was in, totally sucked. Honestly, when you have two talents like Jesse Eisenberg and Ellen Page together in a Woody Allen movie, you would expect them to be hilarious, passion-driven, and believable, but sadly, none of that happens for either of them. Eisenberg’s shtick doesn’t do much and Page comes off as an annoying pretentious actress that just wants to hear herself talk and I get that is what the film is trying to convey about her, but that doesn’t make me like her anymore than I already did. Also, no passion between them whatsoever and I would have much rather seeing Eisenberg and Gerwig in a film together, all by their lonesome selves.
Oh, and I must not forget about Roberto Benigni, who I haven’t seen in quite some time and probably has one of the dumbest skits in the whole movie, which is really saying something. His plot is basically all about him being this random celebrity that people want to know more about, girls want to sleep with, and little kids want autographs from, but it’s never made clear exactly why that is and exactly what’s so extraordinary about this guy in the first place. Benigni’s a lot more tied-down in this role and doesn’t let himself get too crazy with this role, but when he does, it’s annoying and it just made me wish he stayed away from this film with the remains of Pinocchio. Don’t worry, this movie is better than that one.
Consensus: It’s obvious that Woody Allen loves Rome and all of its beauties, but he never shows that through his writing or direction here. Instead, everything comes off as forced, contrived, lame, boring, and nothing all that exciting to stay around for and watch again. It’s just a lazy Woody Allen. Boooo!
Stifler vs. Sabretooth. The show-down of a life time.
When he’s seen dispatching a rude opposing hockey player in the stands, Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) is hired by a rival team for his fighting skills. It seems the new team’s star is gun-shy after being hit by a puck, and Glatt’s job is to be his on-ice bodyguard.
Hockey fans don’t get so much love their way when it comes to getting their own movies. I mean you got classics like ‘Slapshot’, ‘Miracle’, and ‘The Mighty Ducks’ franchise to an extent but they are all pretty spread-out far apart from each other. Thankfully, I think you can add this one into the “pretty good” list.
The script, written by Apatow lovers Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg, is taking a big step with this flick considering that all of the controversy in the NHL today is all about how they are starting to come down hard on fights or hits that may cause concussions so the general premise here can be either taken in bad taste or as politically incorrect. Either way, it doesn’t matter because these guys seem like they love hockey, love watching it, and just love watching these guys take off the gloves and get into big-ass brawls. This script definitely shows a lot of love for the sport of hockey but it also shows a lot of love for its story and the characters that inhabit it as well.
This film is definitely funny and has plenty of those raunchy moments that we should come to expect from R-rated flicks, but the film has more heart than it may have you think at first. The film explores some dark themes such as drugs, death, and even adultery but it’s never too serious to where it’s strange, instead, the film focuses on it just for a small amount of time to have us feel something for this story. The drama here isn’t over-bearing but it’s used in some nice ways that may take you by surprise and even though you won’t be shedding tears over this material by the end, you’ll definitely feel a lot closer to the story and its characters.
Still though, this film doesn’t really take itself too softly and still delivers the goods when it comes to showing some straight-up ass-beating coming from one of the sports that’s most famous for it. Each scene has a gory look to it and even though blood never spills out like this in real life, it’s still awesome to see somebody lose about 12 pints of blood when they’re getting their teeth knocked out. I love hockey fights the most (then again, who doesn’t?!?) but they were definitely a lot of fun to watch as simple and unoriginal they could be. Besides, any fight sequence that’s played to “Working Man” by Canada’s own Rush is a win-win for me.
My complaints with this film aren’t huge but they still did take me out of this one a bit. I think that this film over-did it a bit with it’s whole raunchy/dirty side because it really got annoying after about the 20th time I heard the word “fuck” used in the film, and it hadn’t even been 5 minutes yet. “Fuck” isn’t a word that bothers me, but once you use it too much just to gain laughs, then you start to make that word even less unfunny. Also, for a film that’s all about hockey, there definitely wasn’t as much hockey playing as I would have liked to see from this flick but I guess it was all about the ass whooping and that’s all that matters folks.
What really makes this film’s heart come out is its performance from Seann William Scott as Doug Glatt. Scott has never really done a role like this before because instead of just being Steve Stifler and letting out all of these dirty and degrading sex jokes towards girls all the time, he is actually more toned down and creates a lot more of a likable character. At first, Doug seems dumb and very slow but after awhile we start to realize that he’s just a shy and kind-hearted guy that never really got the time of day from the people all around him. He’s a very lovable character right from the start and one of those guys that seems so easy to root for even though he’s beating the shit out of everybody on the other teams.
Liev Schreiber is once again adding onto his list of great “villain” roles and his one here as Ross Rhea isn’t any different, except for the fact that he seems a lot more of a grounded person that has been so used to beating people’s asses that he sort of knows that he’s not gotten any younger and it’s time to pass the torch. The show-down between him and Glatt is also pretty freakin’ awesome and ends the film on a pretty high note. Jay Baruchel is pretty funny as Glatt’s buddy, Pat; Alison Pill is a revelation as Eva because she brings so much warmth to her very messed-up character, but it’s so hard to deny that you like her; and Eugene Levy had his moments as the disapproving father of Doug, but it was still a tad confusing for me to see Jim’s dad as Stifler’s dad too. Oh well, still can’t wait for the reunion in a week!
Consensus: Goon isn’t perfect but that’s not the point, it’s supposed to be a funny, violent, and entertaining hockey flick that features not only the goriest fight sequences I have ever seen in a hockey film, let alone sports flick, but also has a lot more heart to its story than the trailers, posters, and even its talent involved may have you expect. If you love hockey, definitely give this a try.