Review: Yoga Hosers (2016)

At some point Kevin Smith went on tour screening Yoga Hosers. The tour posters proudly declared it “The Wurst Movie Ever Made!” This got me wondering: was that movie supposed to be an eclectic celebration of genre elements that nevertheless had aimed at being a decent film, like say Dogma? Or was Kevin Smith’s aim to intentionally make a bad (but hopefully cult favorite movie)? If so, was part of the pitch for his daughter (Harley Quinn Smith) to star in a terrible movie? Would that count as fatherly love or disguised contempt? Also, Kevin Smith is in this movie as a Bratzi— or rather many Bratzis — who are Hitler clones that are the consistency and size of bratwurst sausages. So that’s the backstory the world that might look like a coy misspelling, and also a flag that we’re entering Kung Pow!: Enter the Fist comedy stylings here.

Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp star as the Yoga Hosers, so called due to their love of doing yoga. They are also known as “Colleen Squared” because both are named Colleen. They were originally seen in Tusk as disaffected store clerks at the Eh-2-Zed convenience store (which sells kitschy Canadian souvenirs). Yoga Hosers also features a lot of actors from the “True North” series playing new roles. Tusk‘s Justin Long, who we last saw as the Winnipeg Walrus (i.e. the Manitoba Manatee), returns as Colleen Squared’s strip mall yoga instructor who goes by the name Yogi Bayer. (This is the caliber of yuks here, folks.) In the first movie, they seem to be constantly bored by life and so over their dead-end Winnipeg existences. We get some of that here: they take long breaks so they can jam in the break room where they can start their mostly all-girl band.

And yet they probably live more exciting lives than your average teen girl squad. They seem to attract serial killers, for one. Also, their store happens to be built atop the evil villain lair of a fugitive Nazi who’s been cryogenically frozen for 70 years and cloning Hitler sausages. (I am assuming that this was, once again, one of those movie concepts pitched via podcast. People… podcasters need to be stopped. It’s the only way.) The fugitive Nazi also seems to be a hacky stand-up comedian, because his entire appearance is composed of (admittedly decent) celebrity impersonations. At this point, this is where I scratch a notch into the “intentionally bad” ledger.

They also make easy friends with the Canadian Batman* Guy LaPointe, who is now credited as being played by Lily-Rose’s dad. A lot of the jokes become gags about the generation gap. Itt works, unlike several of the dumber gags in the movie. When our Nazi goes into an Adam West impersonation, Lily-Rose’s dad saves the bit by showing his appreciating and commenting on how good the impersonation is. This draws disgust from Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp, who insist that Batman needs to sound more like their terrible impersonations of Christian Bale. I know, they probably owe Danni Pudi royalties for that joke, but bad Christian Bale impersonations always get a chuckle from me. There are also some times when you can see Lily-Rose about to crack up at one of her dad’s weird comedic ticks, and I can’t hate that.

Despite my suspicion that Kevin Smith would love no better than for me to give his movie zero stars, I’d say that there are some redeeming values. To be honest, there are some parts I liked better than Tusk. I totally buy the Colleens as being best friends, for example. I have no idea if they’re friends in real life, but I will assume so based on the easy banter that Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp have. They have such an authentic chemistry. The Batman-style onomatopoeia was a fun callback to earlier Kevin Smith films. Justin Long is charming as their supportive mentor. Sasheer Zamata played a character named “Principal Invincible,” and I chuckled. Also I can’t totally hate a movie that has a Stan Lee cameo.

But yeah… this movie is terrible and not in a fun way. By the end of the movie, you dread the swish-cut to a Snapchat-like app. The joke gets beat dead to the ground, and unlike the Simpsons rake gag it does not get funnier on repetition. That and the sheer number of times Kevin Smith goes to the “Sawree aboot that” well has me obliterating my “intentionally bad” column in a flurry of chicken scratches. Like its predecessor, Yoga Hosers tries too hard to hit a punchline, only its more obvious now because it’s trying to be a comedy.

Rating: 2/5 stars.


* – I’m looking at the cast list and apparently Kevin Conroy was in it playing a character named “Canadian Bat, Man!” I am kicking myself for missing that cameo. Though I guess I blame the movie for not directing my attention appropriately.