Film: Yoga Hosers
Director: Kevin Smith (also writer, editor, and one-foot-tall Canadian Nazi)
Apparently most people: “Man, Kevin Smith sure keeps getting worse.”
Ben: “Man, Kevin Smith sure keeps getting better (somehow).”
In the succinct words of the artist himself, Kevin Smith’s new picture is about “one-foot-tall Canadian Nazis made of bratwurst called Bratzis.”
If you’re less interested in seeing Yoga Hosers than you were a small number of seconds ago, please do not squander your time on this review. Close your computing device, watch no movies today, commit some time to a waning relationship or a mahogany rubbing hobby. Yoga Hosers is not for you.
It probably won’t help to know that the movie also features Johnny Depp as a wonky-eyed Québécois investigator (a private cock-eye?); two yogically-inclined teenage convenience store clerks played by Smith’s and Depp’s daughters (not with each other), Harley Quinn and Lily-Rose; and a smattering of regular-height Canadian Nazis composed of the usual human material.
In fact, you can probably tell that Yoga Hosers is a movie that really doesn’t need to exist. Which is funny, considering that Smith has habitually said the same thing about his previous movie, Tusk, off of which this one is spun by reprising Harley Quinn and the Depps’ characters. Many people reviled Tusk. I think they missed what the movie was doing, which was a rather intrepid marriage of comedy and horror that comprised a patently ridiculous premise (about a deranged millionaire who turns a podcaster into a walrus) gussied up as a serious horror film. As much as Smith reasserts the utter non-necessity of his infamous “walrus movie,” the film has become for me bizarrely important, not only for enabling Johnny Depp’s best performance in years but also for concocting a truly singular atmosphere. Horror comedy remains a frontier genre, but I do declare I have not seen anything from it that is anything like Tusk.
Two years have passed, and Yoga Hosers has arrived to fulfill part two of Smith’s projected True North trilogy, a hellaciously strange and scenic detour toward his upcoming Clerks and Mallrats sequels. The entry is not bad. Smith, Jr. and Depp, Jr. lace their scenes with a sweet on-screen chemistry—an extension of their real-life best-friendship—and Depp clearly relishes the opportunity to further demonstrate how Clouseau might have been played by Peter Falk. And the one-foot-tall Canadian Nazis made of bratwurst called Bratzis are, through all their godforsaken existence, pretty darn amusing.
Many people have also reviled Yoga Hosers. This time around, I am closer to seeing their side. Tusk was intriguing—and, I would say, rather ingenious—as a comedy, and as a horror, and as motion picture for how it reimagined the way those genres could intersect. The pseudo-sequel does not bother with the same rickety intensity of presentation, full of all those curious gaps through which to view the odd odobenid ordeal. In its own, eccentric way, Tusk dared us to think for ourselves. I wasn’t fool enough to expect the exact technique to be reprised, but I was fool enough to expect Yoga Hosers to offer something to knock my socks off, and that particular bowl comes back empty.
Thankfully, I had too much fun watching the movie to care. So what if the first two-thirds feel like two separate scripts got shuffled together—one an alternate-dimension version of Clerks and the other a porn parody of Critters? If that is the case, Smith did a bang-up job of tying them together. Yoga Hosers is ultimately a movie about several seemingly irreconcilable ideas somehow standing as one, knees hyper-comically wobbling, spliced together by pop culture-obsessed Nazi doctors, iPhone-dependent BFFs, militant yoga practices, and the abyssal mind of Guy LaPointe.
It is also about one-foot-tall Canadian Nazis made of bratwurst called Bratzis.