One of the more wildly talked about movies from this year’s Sundance Film Festival that is finally hitting theaters today is the flamboyant comedy-meets-fantasy film, “Yoga Hosers,” directed by Kevin Smith. Set in a small Canadian town where the accents are as thick as maple syrup, two 15-year-old best friends, with extremely unhealthy cell phone addictions, discover that horrifying demons are taking over their workplace and threatening to ruin their late night plans. But what are these terrifying little creatures? Turns out that they’re Nazi sympathizing sausages from Canada’s past, appropriately called “Bratzis.”
Colleen Collette (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith) are yoga enthusiasts by day and convenience store clerks by night. They work after school dead-end jobs at Eh-2-Zed, the local corner store that sells everything from toilet paper to “Pucky Charms” cereal. Their overall bratty attitude changes to excitement after senior heartthrob Hunter Calloway (Austin Butler) invites the girls to a totally awesome “Grade 12” party. However, things don’t go according to plan when they get stuck working a late shift, and discover not only is Hunter not the sweet guy they thought he was, but that they have bigger fish to fry, or in this case, sausages. Enlisting help from Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp), the girls are forced to defeat the meat that is threatening to kill them.
As one can safely assume by this point, “Yoga Hosers” is a wacky and wholly original moviegoing experience. The cheesiness factor is through the roof, but that is one of its biggest charms. Seeing a movie that is technically sophisticated with a top notch cast (scene stealer Ralph Garman’s insanely spot-on impressions of Sylvester Stallone and Adam West draw the biggest laughs), yet one that does not take itself too seriously on screen, is a rare occurrence these days and should be recognized. Think “Bad Milo” meets “Sausage Party” in terms of the thematic guideline. However, one of my biggest critiques is how anti-climactic the ending is in comparison to the outlandish storyline. There is no stopping this crazy train and the ending could have followed through with the same emphasis.
What really makes “Yoga Hosers” great is the familial full-circle connections off-screen. Firstly, and most obviously, director Kevin Smith cast his actors close to the vest with his daughter Harley Quinn as the lead character, Colleen M. Another fun connection is between Lily-Rose Depp, who not only acts alongside one, but both of her parents in the film. Her mother Vanessa Paradis plays Ms. Maurice, the school’s history teacher who tells the girls of the Nazi origins in Canada. Her father, Johnny Depp, brings his signature Mad Hatter/Inspector Clouseau-kookiness to his character Guy Lapointe, the legendary man-hunter from Montreal whose accent is as wacky as his bushy brows. Finally, a subtle but interesting connection comes from the airheaded yoga instructor Yogi Bayer, played by Justin Long. Not to venture into gossip magazine mode, but until recently, his longtime girlfriend was Amanda Seyfried, who also appears on the cover of the town’s hottest magazine.
The biggest misfortune as an audience member would be to walk into “Yoga Hosers” unprepared; not in terms of knowing the plot twists and turns, but in being unable to appreciate this unusual cinematic presentation. It is a film that will provoke you to immediately either love it or hate it. Yet, despite its critics, there is no denying that “Yoga Hosers” is certainly one of the wildest films of the year. Here’s a hint– you definitely want to stay through the end credits just to see Johnny Depp shred on the guitar during the closing song.
“Yoga Hosers” is rated PG-13 for crude humor, sexual references, comic violence, and brief drug material. 88 minutes. Now playing in select theaters.