Bratwurst Nazis (Bratzis) run amuck through a Canadian convenience store, whilst two millennial yoga fans reluctantly attempt to contain the situation. Yes, it’s Kevin Smith‘s Yoga Hosers an amusingly over-the-top piece of genre fun which feels like the director’s defiant middle finger to critics and conventionality.
The two Colleens’ (Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Quinn Smith) party plans are ruined when they are made to work on a Friday night, but things go from bad to worse when the shop is overrun by Canadian Bratwurst Nazis. The pair must team-up with Detective Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp reprising his Tusk role) to get to the source of this evil.
After the generally negative response to Smith’s vastly-underrated Tusk, there is a sense that the director is dealing with his frustration by delivering a film that he hopes will irk critics – and judging by the typical post-press-screening response he has succeeded. However, for all its multitude of unsuccessful comedy attempts – most of which can be routed in the gaping misfire of Johnny Depp‘s returning Guy Lapointe (surely one of the worst on-screen comedy characters in recent years?) – there is an outrageous, B-Movie camp and madcap charm about Yoga Hosers.
Smith’s narrative has a real defiance about it, perhaps rooted in its millennial leads or maybe its unadulterated silliness – and there is something quite liberating about that as a viewing experience. From the garish social media profiles that surround each newly introduced character to the unapologetically bad B-Movie inspired effects, Yoga Hosers aesthetics really succeed in channelling Smith’s “doesn’t give a damn” sentiment. These all feed into the elaborate humour of Smith’s film – the Bratzis are indeed very funny – particular as they squeal broken lines of German dialogue at their victims such as “Wunderbar,” whilst Lily Rose-Depp and Harley Quinn Smith are both particularly amusing as the detached millennial protagonists more fazed by forgetting their mobiles than hordes of tiny Nazis.
A host of cameos from a particularly game cast help Yoga Hosers to continually tickle. Tony Hale and Natasha Lyonne as one of the Colleen’s Dad and step-mother, particularly buy into the over-the-top fun – Hale as gushingly over-sentimental parent and Lyonne as his trashy sexpot wife. Vanessa Paradis appears a amusingly dramatic history teacher warning of Canadian Nazis, whilst Justin Long has fun as strip mall yoga guru, Yogi Bayer. Despite being the cast’s most high profile addition, Depp’s reprisal of Tusk’s Guy Lepointe may provide some neat continuity, but unfortunately proves too annoying and defiantly unfunny to praise in the slightest.
Like Glamthrax, the Colleen’s pop-punk band, there is something defiantly free-spirited about Yoga Hosers that allowed me to have fun with it. A neat millennial-centric aesthetic and unrestrained over-the-top silliness from the premise and cast keep things entertaining, although many of these gags fall flat preventing Yoga Hosers from being completely wunderbar.
★★★1/2 | Andrew McArthur
Horror, Comedy | Canada, 2015 | 15 | 2016 Edinburgh Film Festival | 21, 25 June 2016 | Dir.Kevin Smith |Harley Quinn Smith, Lily-Rose Depp, Johnny Depp, Natasha Lyonne, Haley Joel, Justin Long, Vanessa Paradis