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Haunted Sideshow

Dustin Putman

2016 Sundance Film Festival
Yoga Hosers  (2016)
1½ Stars
Directed by Kevin Smith.
Cast: Lily-Rose Depp, Harley Quinn Smith, Johnny Depp, Ralph Garman, Justin Long, Austin Butler, Tyler Posey, Haley Joel Osment, Natasha Lyonne, Tony Hale, Genesis Rodriguez, Adam Brody, Sasheer Zamata, Stan Lee, Harley Morenstein, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith.
2016 – 87 minutes
Not Yet Rated
Reviewed at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival by Dustin Putman for, January 25, 2016.
The second part in writer-director Kevin Smith's "True North Trilogy," "Yoga Hosers" snatches up two peripheral characters from 2014's deliciously insane walrus thriller "Tusk"—15-year-old Manitoban convenience store clerks Colleen Collette (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith)—and drops them into their own movie where they are the front-and-center stars. In their first lead roles, Lily-Rose Depp (Johnny's daughter) and Harley Quinn Smith (Kevin's daughter) are utterly adorable, a little green around the edges but full of such exuberance and enthusiasm it hardly matters. The camera loves them both, and were the picture to have proceeded down the path of its opening 15-20 minutes where it is strictly an on-fleek teen comedy, Smith might have been onto something new and special. Unfortunately, good will dies with each passing minute once the Colleens and their engaging, fast-paced, yoga-loving high-school existences get lost in a tidal wave of chaotic, obnoxious and sorely unfunny material involving hot, Satan-lovin' serial killers, Canadian Nazis, miniaturized Hitler clones in the form of bratwursts, and an evil buried deep underneath the Eh-2-Zed convenience store where they work.

"Yoga Hosers" is self-indulgent in the extreme, a listless vanity project that takes two protagonists with endless promise and chooses to do nothing of any real consequence with them. Would-be great heroines in search of a better script, best friends Colleen C. and Colleen M. are frustratingly never broadened into three-dimensional individuals; they have no personal arcs, and their emotional complexity (or much emotion at all, save for dismay when they get their cell phones taken away during gym class) is squandered in preference of non-stop verbal jokes making fun of everyone's Canadian accent. "Tusk" supporting player Johnny Depp (2015's "Black Mass") pops up again as mole-shifting homicide detective Guy LaPointe, arriving to help the girls out of a sticky situation, but his scenes go on so long they abruptly stop the pacing in its tracks.

Talky with nothing to say and off-puttingly tacky once the Hilter-clone "Bratzis" (all played by CGI-ed Kevin Smiths) show up, "Yoga Hosers" feels supremely bloated even at 87 minutes. When the Colleens are fronting a rock band and singing their hearts out, "Yoga Hosers" shines bright; a scene where they perform a bedroom duet of Styx's "Babe" as Colleen C.'s dad (Tony Hale) listens adoringly from another room might be as unabashedly sweet as anything Smith has done. All that follows it, though, doesn't work for even a second. If "Tusk" had a positively crazy, creepy premise of a man being abducted and turned into a walrus, it also had a fully realized screenplay on its side and pathos to go along with its dark humor. By comparison, "Yoga Hosers" feels dismayingly slapped together, a series of skits lacking a soul. Colleen Collette and Colleen McKenzie are irresistible originals. They deserve a far better movie than this one.
© 2016 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman

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