Kevin Smith’s (CLERKS, MALLRATS, TUSK) latest film is a continuation of his True North Trilogy starring his daughter Harley Quinn Smith, Johnny Depp, and his daughter Lily-Rose Depp. YOGA HOSERS is a film right in Smith’s comedic, pot-inspired wheelhouse and is a loving tribute to his relationship with his daughter, and the depth of teen best-friendship. This film might not be for everyone, and that’s because it wasn’t made for everyone. This is a father/daughter love letter that someone else paid for. That isn’t to say that the movie isn’t good. This film actually made me feel something I haven’t felt in a long time in a movie theater. It made me feel like I was having fun. While YOGA HOSERS is a movie of complete and utter whimsy, it is also the kind of film that I hope my future daughter will seek out in her tween years and watch without permission during a late-night sleepover with her best friend. No, YOGA HOSERS isn’t GOONIES, or STRANGER THINGS, or even comparable to Smith’s own early catalog of films, but YOGA HOSERS, while not a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination, is not trying to be something it’s not.
Two convenient store clerks and amateur yoga enthusiasts, both named Colleen (Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp) are typical (in Smith’s fictitious world) Canadian 15 year-olds that have an opportunity to go to a senior party. When they have to work at the store instead, they try to bring the party to the store. Unfortunately for them, the party includes two satanists that are trying to give their virgin souls to the Devil. Before the two boys can complete their evil deed, they are defeated by Bratzis (the Nazi bratwurst minions of Andronicus Arcane, an unearthed former Nazi scientist played by Ralph Garman). For the rest of the movie the Colleens try to stop the Bratzis from taking over Canada, and the world.
Along the way they are helped and hindered by a host of characters played lovingly by Smith friends, family, and acquaintances. Making cameos are Haley-Joel Osment, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith (Harley Quinn’s mother), Vanessa Paradis (Lily-Rose Depp’s mother), Kevin Conroy (the voice of Batman from the popular animated series), and Johnny Depp himself reprising his role from TUSK as Guy Lapointe, the Canadian Manhunter. Kevin Smith himself makes a cameo as the CGI animated Bratzis.
YOGA HOSERS is not a typical tentpole superhero flick, and it’s not the type of grown-up (or growing-up) film that Smith is so famous for where the characters are either trying to find their place in an imperfect world filled with rude clerks, switch-hitting lesbians, and rubber poop monsters. This is a different Kevin Smith that I think most of his general audience might not necessarily be ready for. This is the high school friend that you used to party with, that got his act together, got married, and had a family. Sure, you reminisce about the good times of the View Askew-niverse, but at the end of the day Smith’s priorities aren’t keeping Hollywood, critics, and outraged fans happy. His priorities are making films that he wants to make. YOGA HOSERS is his chance to make a movie with his daughter, her friend, and Johnny Depp, one of this generation’s most lauded actors. How could anyone deny that opportunity is someone was willing to give you money to see that vision come to fruition?
YOGA HOSERS has some problems that are hard to ignore. The middle act is a little slow and the dialogue can be a bit heavy-handed in trying to fit in today’s slang (which will be a detriment as this film ages and as today’s tweens and teens age, and that slang becomes irrelevant). Yes the Goalie Golem “boss fight” comes off pretty tacky and unfinished, and Ralph Garman’s over-the-top impressions don’t quite fit into the movie as a whole. But at the end of the day, Kevin Smith has entered a new era of his career where he makes film that HE wants to see, and we have to deal with it. The question isn’t whether or not YOGA HOSERS is any good cinematically, it’s about whether or not you’re willing to take the ride Smith is offering, and willing to buy into the world he is presenting you, because if you don’t like it, that’s not going to stop him from making it.
YOGA HOSERS Review
Two teenage yoga enthusiasts team up with a legendary man-hunter to battle with an ancient evil presence that is threatening their major party plans.