Kevin Smith returns to Sundance with a sequel to his wildly divisive Walrus movie Tusk. So, how does Yoga Hosers fare?
Kevin Smith is living the ultimate dream. He runs a wildly popular podcast network, writes Batman comics, and is able to make just about any movie his heart desires. This year marks the fourth time that the man has come to Sundance bearing the gift of film. Tthat film, Yoga Hosers, may be one of the best things he has ever done.
With Yoga Hosers, we find Kevin Smith at a really exciting point in his career. It is his second film in a sort of wacky, monster-riddled ‘True North’ trilogy, the first being the not so family-friendly Tusk. He oftentimes describes it as Clerks with women, and for the most part, that is exactly what Yoga Hosers is. It’s the story of two girls who discover their father’s convenience store is built over a secret Canadian Nazi lair (are you sold yet?).
When the girls are forced to work the night shift instead of attending a 12th year party, things start to go awry. What ensues is a ridiculous comedic romp that will have you feeling nostalgic for those kids vs. monster films of the late 80s and early 90s.
The film stars Smith’s own daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, and Lily Rose as the two convenience store clerks and their natural, bubbly yet sarcastic nature is the true strong point of this film. Rose’s father, an actor whom you might be familiar with (Johnny Depp), has quite a bit of screen time in this film, yet interestingly enough, Ms. Rose may have the better performance here, she’s just that good.
Oh and did we mention they can sing? The film’s opening song makes you wish the two girls would run away and start a band together.
To hear Kevin Smith describe it, Yoga Hosers, and the Sundance Film Festival, are like his proverbial lazarus pit, a place where he can go to rejuvenate himself and emerge young again. Maybe Smith doesn’t give himself enough credit. Yoga Hosers isn’t the work of somebody trying to be young again, it’s the work of somebody who has lived life, experienced the joy of family, and has perhaps just now truly discovered himself.
This is not a young man’s film, but the film of a wily vet who instead of living under the constant pressure and limitations of the studio system, decides to do what every artist truly desires, to make the films he wants, the way he wants. For this reason alone, Yoga Hosers is one of the best things he’s ever produced, the exception being of course the wonderful Harley Quinn Smith.
With all that said, it is important to note that this film has three main target audiences. The first being listeners of his weekly Smodcast podcasts. Many smodcast personalities make appearances on this film, and if a line of dialogue wasn’t pulled directly from a podcast, it was then picked from the brain of his own daughter. The only thing truly missing would be an appearance by Scott Mozier, who unfortunately can be heard in voice only over the convenience store radio.
The second target audience would be 12 year old girls. This film is not meant for adults in any way shape or form. This is not say that adults can’t find something fun in it, but if you find yourself sitting in a screening of this film and are thinking to yourself “Man, I just don’t get this”, that is probably because you aren’t a 12 year old girl. If you are the kind of adult who finds pleasure in things like Mean Girls, or Troll 2, then there is some good news… this is your new favorite film.
The third and most important demographic of this film is of course Kevin Smith himself. This is an intensely personal film for Smith. He gets to work with his daughter, making the kind of film he would have loved as a kid, with the people he’s known since he was a kid. Who wouldn’t do that? Some may take the George Lucas argument and claim directors have a responsibility to their viewership, however just like the great George Lucas, Kevin Smith is just making something he would enjoy.
Maybe the tiny half bratwurst, half nazi creations that are “bratzis” are his Jar Jar Binks, but let’s not forget that a film starring Mr. Binks made millions and millions of dollars. If you can’t make a film for yourself, then why make films?
If you fall into any of the above three categories then run to see this. Run with all your strength and speed. The hardest thing to do as a critic or viewer of films is to realize that not every story is your story. You don’t have to relate to art for it to be considered good or worthwhile. Sometimes you have to appreciate things for what they truly are, and what Yoga Hosers truly is, is a wonderful piece of film making from one of the worlds most genuine film directors.