Review: ‘Yoga Hosers’ Is A Trainwreck
I was tempted to declare “Yoga Hosers” as Kevin Smith’s worst film, but then I remembered that “Cop Out” still exists.
But it’s CLOSE, very very close and unlike “Cop Out” this is all Kevin Smith… no jerky Bruce Willis to blame. That’s not a dismissal of the stories from the production of “Cop Out.” I believe from other stories that Bruce Willis was that major of an issue to work with. It’s clear they’re both capable of causing bad movies to come out. I’m taking this from other reviews but it’s true, Kevin Smith needs to either get out of Canada or stop smoking pot while writing his scripts. Just in case that wasn’t clear, I am a fan of Kevin Smith as a person and a majority of his films. He has his haters who just attack everything he does which is unfair, so I just wanted to make it known where I’m coming from first.
Warning, potential spoilers below…
Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 2
Early reports said this didn’t have anything to do with “Tusk,” it was just set in the same universe much like many of Smith’s early films. However, it’s more like a spin-off with the amount of references to that film. So for those who didn’t see “Tusk,” there were a couple of scenes that were set in a Canadian convenient store manned by two disinterested teenage girls played by Harley Quinn Smith and Lily Rose Depp. They weren’t anything important in that film, just a chance for Smith to give his daughter and her best friend cameos in a film of his. Now they’re the stars of his story. After the events of “Tusk” the two girls (both named Colleen) are minor celebrities for their part in that incident. They’re invited to a senior party by one of the cool kids, but unfortunately are forced to work at the store that night. Taking a page out of her father’s film “Clerks” Colleen M. gets the idea to bring the party to the store itself. It then turns out the boys are actually Satan worshipers who want to sacrifice the girls. Then Bratzis attack the boys in the ass (no I’m not joking there) and the girls must fight off this infestation. What is a Bratzi you may ask? A Bratzi is a little toy-sized Nazi made out of bratwurst with sauerkraut for blood.
Now would you believe me if I said that was only about the first half of the film? After that the Colleens are arrested by the police, they’re met by Guy Lapointe as the French-Canadian bounty hunter from “Tusk.” From there they team up to try to discover who created these Bratzis and clear the Colleen’s names of any wrongdoing. So yeah that’s the story here. It’s unbelievably disjointed and doesn’t flow at all. If you don’t know what the hosers in the title, “Yoga Hosers” means it’s a word that means foolish person. Now they say yoga hosers a ton throughout the film, but never explain what it means. I had to look it up once I got home. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing.
The acting is a mixed bag. First we have our Colleens played by Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp’s daughters and they’re probably the best in that they do what was obviously expected of them in a major part. They’re nothing amazing, but not horrible either. I’d be curious in seeing them in other roles. There are some other good roles, but they’re such small cameos that it doesn’t really feel right counting them like Jason Mewes as a police detective. Ralph Garman as the villain is effective, but it feels like it’s only because of his voice acting ability. It’s DEFINITELY NOT from the actual writing of the character. Part of the ending just stops to allow him to show off his impressions which are nice as he’s very good at most of them, although his Arnold Schwarzenegger sounds more like Christopher Walken but then again most people’s Arnold impressions aren’t very good. Although I must say his Adam West is freaking on-point, like once Adam West passes on and they still want to do 60s Batman stuff we should use Garman because clearly he won the audition. I didn’t even realize we were holding auditions for that, but still… he won.
Everyone else is SO over-the-top they feel more like a cartoon than the actual cartoon show Kevin Smith made. Part of it is because they apparently insisted on everyone using a cartoony Canadian accent. Remember that manatee joke from “Family Guy” about Canadian Alcatraz? That’s what most of the actors sound like they’re trying for and I don’t know, I’m not an expert on Canada. The only facts I know about are simple stuff like we (America) are better than you. But aside from that I’m not an expert on their accents so maybe this one I’m just not aware of. On top of all that there are just a lot of wasted cameos like Stan “The Man” Lee and Haley Joel Osment whose role I can only describe as existing purely because Kevin Smith obviously must have liked working with him on “Tusk” and wanted to work with him again on this.
Lastly the technicals, which have always been a weak point for Kevin Smith. I would say he’s probably a bit harsher on himself than he needs to be, but visually his films have never been terribly impressive. Normally his writing and understanding of characters would overcome that. I do feel like in his more recent films with his lighting and camera set-ups he is trying to make his films more visually interesting. They’re still very basic, but I would say he’s trying. This film is nothing special looking, but it’s also nothing horribly ugly either. If you want to talk ugly let’s talk about the special effects. I know it’s a comedy and I know it’s low budget, but it really does look worse than some stuff I’ve seen on YouTube. The Bratzis are basically Kevin Smith in makeup waving his arms around in front of a green screen and it NEVER looks like it blends in with the environment. I’m not even sure if they had access to a full green screen because whenever the camera is far enough away to see a full shot of the Bratzis moving something REALLY looks off about the legs; I’m almost certain they were all CGI. Not to mention the times when they get flung into the air and have to be fully CGI; it looks worse than “Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist.” However, if you remember my article about that then you’ll remember that film had an excuse for its CGI looking so bad. It wasn’t fully released and finished. Also there was one part that honestly made my jaw drop in disbelief. After the Bratzis had been ripped in half and their sauerkraut innards are all over the floor (rendered in high school level CGI) they drop half of a dead Bratzi on it and you can see the sauerkraut through the body of the Bratzi even though he’s lying on top of it. Again, in my film classes in college I saw better image compositing.
Entertainment Value – 1
I think the closest thing this resembles of other Kevin Smith related projects would be the “Clerks (TV Series).” No not the animated series, that is actually quite funny as its own thing. I mean that AWFUL sitcom Disney tried to make but never got past a pilot. The humor has a similar problem in that there are times I honestly can’t even tell what the joke is supposed to be in a given scene. I will tell you the one joke that did get a real decent laugh from me. Kevin Conroy cameos as a customer in one scene, The Colleens are dismissive and Conroy tells them they’re rude in a very serious way. Then, as he leaves with the other guy he came in with he goes “Come on Robin.” Kevin Conroy did the voice of Batman in “Batman: The Animated Series” and many fans still consider him to be the definitive voice, but even if you know that, most wouldn’t recognize him from his face and he doesn’t quite do the Batman voice so it’s a joke for a very small audience. There are also some confused jokes like Guy Lapointe’s mole. One cool thing about “Tusk” was how they hid the fact Johnny Depp was in it. He wasn’t mentioned in the marketing and when he does show up it’s in this make-up that makes it hard to realize it’s even him. I’m sure there were some audience members who never figured it out. It’s the same make-up here except for some added moles on his face which switch around constantly and sometimes in the same scenes from cut to cut. So like the hump joke in “Young Frankenstein” except not done right. It just does it throughout the film and NOBODY comments on it at all. Frankly it was distracting and I focused on this more than some plot moving dialog that was happening.
Another great example of a majorly failed joke was sadly a reference to his most iconic work, “Clerks.” Now I understand the compulsion to do so and to give the line, “I’m not even supposed to be here today!” to his daughter, but it doesn’t work as dialog on its own in its context. What made that line work so well in “Clerks” was the repetition throughout the film with Dante’s delivery getting more and more broken sounding each time he said it. Here, she is working on what is supposed to be her day off and she is fighting Bratzis, but it just feels contrived. If you want to hear a clever reference to that line then go watch the very beginning of “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” which is the best part of that film anyway. Luckily there are no scenes like the one with Johnny Depp and Michael Parks in “Tusk” which felt so long it feels like I’m still stuck watching it. I thought some scenes were about to become those here, but thankfully they ended before they went on for too long. The worst thing I can say about this film, and I feel bad for saying it since Kevin Smith is a filmmaker I greatly admire and even just as a human being I find him to be an inspirational figure listening to him talk in interviews, but it needs to be said… I’m now worried about projects like “Moose Jaws” and “Clerks 3.” Now something about the ending, a lot of people complain about the scene where the critic gets killed in “Lady in the Water” despite it being a legitimately funny scene, but this 3rd really feels like a hissy-fit over the recent critical reception of his films. Which is odd as in an interview Smith says this film was an apology to critics, let me tell you it doesn’t translate like that while watching, sorry.
Rewatchability – 1
I do NOT plan on ever re-watching this. Even if I was given this as a gift I’d probably quietly take it to a local video store to exchange it for something else. Maybe if I was in some demented mood I might suggest someone watch it for how bad it is, but if I did I’d probably leave the room or do my best Colleen impression and stay on my phone during the film.
- Entertainment Value
This film is just a train-wreck! It may have more heart and passion in it than “Cop Out” and that's probably the only thing that keeps it above that film. However, make no mistake this is a bad film. I still plan on watching any Smith film that comes out and hope he returns to the quality of his earlier films. He may be making whatever kinds of movies he wants to make and there is something to admire about that, but I can't imagine this phase of his career will be looked back on with much fondness. I give it 1.5 stars out of 5.
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