Despite the critical panning and box office failure of his 2014 horror-comedy Tusk, a film that began as a rambling podcast exchange insultingly included over its end credits, Kevin Smith has pressed on with his intent to make it part of his True North Trilogy with a second entry; Yoga Hosers (the end credits threaten a third entitled Moose Jaws as well). There were many bad things to report about Tusk, but arguably the worst was the inexplicable and gratingly awful appearance of Johnny Depp as French-Canadian detective Guy LaPointe. Buried under prosthetics, a barely recognizable Depp dragged that already terrible film to a screeching halt with his desperately unfunny caricature.
It’s depressing to see then, that LaPointe has returned for the sequel, which is more of a spin off really. This at least doesn’t turn Depp into the lead, instead focusing on the Colleens – two convenience store clerks who made a brief appearance in Tusk – for a mostly unrelated follow-up that focuses a lot more on the comedy rather than the horror.
The two Colleens, played by Smith and Depp’s daughters Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp spend most of the film’s plotless and boring first half hanging around at the store where they work, occasionally making music in the back room in sequences that seem just to be there to pad out the film, attending school and being constantly on their phones, something that’s emphasised by each character being annoyingly introduced with a freeze frame animation meant to be part of the girls’ “Insta-Can” accounts, complete with an insufferable jingle.
In their spare time they also attend yoga classes led by Justin Long – one of several Tusk actors who reappear in different roles, something Depp should probably have considered doing. Oh and said instructor’s name is Yogi Bayer – that’s the level of comedy we’re working with here. Otherwise we’re subjected to an endless parade of lazy Canadian stereotype gags which don’t amount to much beyond jokes about politeness, maple syrup and people saying “eh” and “aboot” a lot, the shop itself is named ‘Eh-2-Zed’. I’m not Canadian myself but I wondered how irritating Canadians would have found Tusk when I saw it and that thought is amplified here considerably. There are also a few embarrassing references mixed in, particularly to Smith’s own previous work, along with a cringe-worthy Stan Lee cameo.
Having said that, when we learn what Smith apparently finds funny to make the actual plot of the film, the maple syrup jokes seem like high comedy in comparison.
The story involves the revelation that there a man named Andronicus Arcane had been part of a Canadian Nazi movement in the 1940s before disappearing. His work is now reappearing via – I shit you not – tiny anthropomorphic Nazi sausages who sport Hitler moustaches, Mountie uniforms and speak almost exclusively in high pitched screeches of “wunderbar”. They’ve been terrorising the town by scurrying around and penetrating the anuses of unsuspecting victims before killing them from within. Ah, and all these “Bratzis” (no, really, that’s what he calls them) are played by Kevin Smith himself. They are every bit as horribly stupid and stupidly horrible as I hope that description entails.
They’re put to use in an atrocious set-piece in which the Colleens take out a bunch of them and Smith’s ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude to filmmaking plumbs new depths with special effects of the quality that would look bad on an amateur YouTube video. The general look of the film is cheap and shoddy anyway but this is something else.
Aside from the general awfulness of his recent output, one of the off-screen aspects that’s led to many film fans losing respect for Smith is his being incredibly thin-skinned when it came to criticism of his work. Dating back to Cop Out receiving, most deservedly, a slew of negative reviews, he’s had it out for critics, and that seems to be encapsulated here by the lead villain instructing a monstrous (and not in a good way) creation of his to go and kill all the art critics, followed shortly by Depp saying “He’s not talking about killing real people – just critics”. Well that’s just charming, isn’t it Kevin? The whole sequence, and film in general really, again feel like the product of someone’s stoned ramblings.
Now I can’t pretend that I don’t know that Smith has stated that he intended this movie’s subtext to be a “quasi-apology to critics”, and has elaborated why on twitter. Okay, maybe that’s true, and sure, good on him in theory, but there is no way I would ever have got that from the film itself, which just seems like Smith taking an opportunity to take a shot at critics in the midst of a juvenile comedy and hey, maybe unleashing this lazily directed steaming shitpile of a movie about sodomizing Nazi sausages isn’t the best way to about that.
I though Tusk and Cop Out were bad enough but this execrable excuse for a movie is a new low for Kevin Smith. I’m searching for something positive to say, and even though their casting might look like nepotism of the highest order, the two young actresses actually aren’t that bad in their roles. Lily-Rose Depp in particular shows hints of a talent that could probably be put to good use in a teen comedy that didn’t require her to adopt a Canadian accent and also wasn’t , y’know, complete and utter irredeemable garbage.