Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Kevin Smith
Stars: Lily-Rose Depp, Hayley Quinn Smith, Johnny Depp, Ralph Garman, Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment, Vanessa Paradis, Austin Butler, Genesis Rodriguez, Ashley Greene, Adam Brody, Tyler Posey, Tony Hale, Natasha Lyonne, Kevin Conroy, Kevin Smith, Stan Lee, Jason Mewes.
Yoga Hosers is the second film in Kevin Smith’s True North trilogy set in Winnipeg in Canada and it follows his bizarre Tusk in which a deranged scientist turned Justin Long into a human walrus. As with Tusk, the idea behind Yoga Hosers came from the Smodcast podcast that Smith does with Scott Mosier, his long time producing partner. While not quite as out there as Tusk, Yoga Hosers is still driven by a very silly premise and will not be to everyone’s taste.
The central characters here are precocious two 15-year-old girls named Colleen (played by Johnny Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose Depp and Smith’s daughter Hayley Quinn Smith), who work at the Eh 2 Zed convenience store. They are the female equivalents of the slacker characters from Smith’s breakthrough film Clerks – they resent working in the store and use any excuse to close the place up to practice with their three piece grunge band in the back room. The two girls are obsessed with yoga and, like most teenagers these days, obsessed with remaining connected through social media and are wedded to their mobile phones. We briefly met them in Tusk, but here they are front and centre and they drive the action.
The two girls are excited to be invited to a Year 12 senior party, but soon discover that the hunky Hunter (Austin Butler, from Aliens In The Attic, etc) has other more nefarious plans for the two girls.
But the two girls then accidentally stumble upon an ancient evil that has been buried in a secret chamber beneath the store since WWII. Twisted Nazi scientist Arcane (Ralph Garman, stepping in for Michael Parks who fell ill before production started) was experimenting with creating a race of soldiers created from meat and cryogenically frozen. But the experiment was short circuited by the girls unplugging an electrical cord, resulting in a race of Weiner Nazis, known as Bratzis (and played by Smith himself through the use of CGI effects and layers of prosthetic makeup). These finger sized Nazis enter their victims through the bum. With the help of legendary manhunter Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp reprising his role from Tusk and almost unrecogniseable under layers of makeup and padding) the two girls save their town from the new Nazi threat.
A clever touch during the climactic sequence when the two girls vanquish the Brazis sees Smith plaster the screen with technicolour verbs, much like the classic camp 60s television version of Batman.
This offbeat and bizarre film is laced with plenty of in jokes, and some of the humour will remind audiences of his early films before he lost that edgy quality. While not as dark and twisted as Tusk, Yoga Hosers will appeal to fans of his podcast. This is also a throwback to the type of B-grade horror movies that Smith himself grew up watching. It is let down by the somewhat clumsy creature effects at the end. The monsters here are played more for laughs rather than genuine suspense or horror.
It is rare to see teenage girls front and centre as the heroines of a silly horror comedy like this. There is some great chemistry between the two girls. The young Depp has a wonderfully droll and deadpan delivery and delivers a more mature and knowing performance that belies her years and relative lack of experience. It also stamps her as an actress to watch in the future.
Depp himself seems to be having fun here as the eccentric Lapointe, and he seems to relish playing these types of eccentric and quirky characters. Garman has a lot of fun here as the evil Nazi scientist, and he does a few impressions of contemporary screen actors such as Al Pacino, Stallone and Schwarzenegger during the climactic showdown.
Smith has cast the film with family and friends, and they seem to have had a lot of fun making the film. Many of the cast from Tusk appear here as different characters, including Genesis Rodriguez, Long as the girl’s yoga teacher Yogi Bayer, Haley Joel Osment as a Nazi activist who appears in a series of black and white flashbacks, and Garman. And there is even a cameo from Stan Lee himself, a rare appearance outside the Marvel universe.
Those attuned to Smith’s sensibility will probably enjoy Yoga Hosers immensely, and there are certainly some laugh out loud moments. However it is certainly not to everybody’s taste.