Kevin Smith’s second film in the Canada trilogy takes a younger direction, in the horror-comedy “Yoga Hosers”. 15-year-old yoga-nuts Colleen Collette (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith) love their smart phones and hate their after school job at Manitoban convenience store Eh-2-Zed. But when an ancient evil force named Bratzl (Kevin Smith) rises from beneath Canada’s crust and threatens their big invitation to a Grade 12 party, the Colleens join forces with the legendary man-hunter from Montreal named Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp) to fight for their lives with all seven Chakras, one Warrior Pose at a time. Depp, Depp the younger and Smith the younger are returning in the roles they created for 2014’s “Tusk”, this time taking the lead in the newest of Kevin’s cooky offerings. “Yoga Hosers” is rated PG-13 for crude humor, sexual references, comic violence, and brief drug use.
Every once in a while, I see a movie that makes me seriously question the kind of pain and torture that I inflict upon myself. I also question how studios can inject a notable amount of money (In this case, four million dollars) into a such an abysmal piece of dog shit, while people are starving on the streets of any city in America. Finally, I question how movies like this get a big screen release when several worthy independent movies struggle to even see the light of day. If the answer to all of these questions are Kevin Smith, that answer is no longer feasible in the grand scale of credible comedy directors. Kevin Smith’s “Yoga Hosers” is the latest bomb from a director who wrote and directed some of the very best comedies of the 90’s and early 2000’s. Films like “Clerks”, “Mallrats”, “Chasing Amy”, and “Dogma” to name a few, are now just footnotes in the career of a man who makes movies to please only himself. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with wanting to make something just because you’ve never seen it done, but at the end of the day, it has to be remotely entertaining if you are presenting it to the paying public. Smith enthusiasts are the only ones who will find this kind of drivel acceptable. At this point, they will accept anything that comes out of him and is plopped onto precious loads of film. I hated his 2014 film “Tusk”, but “Yoga Hosers” takes my hatred of recent Kevin Smith movies to new heights. I am horrifically shocked at how low this once prestigious director has fallen.
First of all, “Yoga Hosers”, as Kevin Smith puts it, “Is made for teenage girls”. If that is the case, he thinks very little of our inevitable future leaders. I can’t imagine any teenager would have anything to do with this movie. Smith spoofs their attention deficit disorders cleverly when it comes to their investment to their phones, but it’s probably not the best move to poke fun at the audience you are paying tribute to. The movie feels remotely like the “Josie and the Pussycats” reboot in the tone of the overall direction, but it doesn’t offer anything even remotely compelling to that waste of time. The screenplay feels like a series of half baked ideas that Smith conjured up during one of many smoke sessions that lasted a little too long. Ten minutes into the film, you pretty much get a good taste of everything that you are in store for. Teenage drama is about as compelling to me as an “Antiques Roadshow” marathon, so to see Smith surround himself in this culture feels like the aging hipster who goes to the newest rock band concert just to feel hip. Our two female protagonists sing in a rock band, and it is just the worst kind of Agent Orange for your ears. Besides some of the worst lip-synching that I have ever seen, the recorded work for these four songs (Yes four) will serve as the key that unlocks the padded cell that you will now resign in after hearing it. Between performances, Smith shoehorns in a story involving sausage sized Nazi’s that invade anally of any human they come across. Unfortunately, the PG-13 rating that is anything but Smith’s style limits any kind of juvenile jokes that you would get out of this set-up. I never laughed once in “Yoga Hosers”, and I’m regretfully issuing an apology to Adam Sandler for the mud I have hurled at his last ten movies or so. The script feels like it repeats the same ten jokes or so, mostly Canadian accents and cultures that wasn’t remotely funny. A half hour in, you can telegraph every single punchline because you have already heard it five times before, and it never raises itself creatively from this level.
The effects work ran out of cash according to Smith. I certainly hope so, because I’ve seen better effects in green-screen on “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”. The inserting of these small soldiers don’t feel the slightest bit believable because the actors surrounding them don’t react well to their physical statures. It always looks like they are looking at someone far off into the distance, instead of the bodies of the people they hold right in front of them. This is bad quality for a first time director, and I feel like if this was the best it was going to get, Smith should’ve waited until more money could be raised for the product. It’s bad in the way that “Birdemic” suffers from bad motion capture. Then there’s the character intro graphics. When each character (And I mean EVERY character) is introduced to us for the first time, we get an ode to “Scott Pilgrim Vs The World”, in that we get screen graphics giving us a brief profile of the characters we encounter. Somewhere this qualifies barely as background exposition, but there’s two major things wrong with this concept. The first, the graphics are annoying by the time it hits the twentieth character. It slows down what minimal continuity flow that the movie has going for it, and serves as a five second pause button each time. The second problem I just mentioned. Five seconds is nowhere near enough to read the on-screen dialogue, so each opportunity not only feels like a waste of time, but a waste of character development that you will never get to take in again.
Speaking of characters, if you hated “Tusk” Johnny Depp is back to to creatively kick us in the movie nuts again, as Inspector Clusseau rip-off Guy Lapointe. The positive here is that Smith knows not to waste as much precious screen time on this character this time around, and we only get him in soundbites. Depp doesn’t elevate his performance slightly though, and Lapointe serves as the voice in your head reminding you of better things that you should be doing with your time. As for the two girls, one thing I give the movie is that their chemistry together is perfect. These two real life best friends gel well together, even with the most eye-rolling of dialogue deliveries. It’s not saying much, but the film feels the most interesting when they are on-screen together, hamming it up with material that they know they deserve far better than. Their acting leaves a little more to be desired. I understand that these two are amateurs in this field, but they are our main cast, so a majority of the film rests in their deliveries and reads for each scene. Their performances feel very wooden and rehearsed, and it all reeks of a bad 1 AM “Saturday Night Live” skit that just barely made the final cut.
“Yoga Hosers” is the ultimate test of patience for Kevin Smith fans alike. It’s an off-the-rails kind of presentation, complete with strained, and often repetitive material, underwritten characters, and unfinished special effects. It’s the very antonym of entertaining. A far greater stench locked inside of two theater doors for 82 minutes longer than anyone could or should have to endure.