Kevin Smith’s incredibly bizarre career trajectory – or as many claim, nosedive – continues with probably his most divisive effort to date, a madcap horror comedy that wants to reconfigure Smith’s own Clerks for the Snapchat generation while throwing in a double shot of Joe Dante.
15-year-old Canadian store clerks Colleen Collette (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith) find themselves charged with saving the world once an ancient Nazi is thawed out and brings with him a gang of miniature Nazis made out of bratwurst…called Bratzis (because of course).
While Smith’s previous movie Tusk made the most of its bonkers premise and evinced the prospect of his output taking an extremely interesting turn into balls-out B-movie schlock…that promise violently slams into a brick wall with this eye-rollingly self-indulgent, if intermittently amusing, effort.
On one hand, Smith working outside the studio system can only really be a good for himself and his fans, but on the flip, the lack of restraint provides no filter for his more grating ideas. Moreover, at the behest of fashioning a starring role for his own daughter and her best pal (the daughter of Johnny Depp, who also appears in this movie as the same grotesque manhunter he played in Tusk), Smith ironically may have in fact set their careers back somewhat.
While it’s debatable that Smith may have accurately captured the base vanity of social media culture, and both Colleens are nothing less than convincing as of-the-moment teenagers, the scattershot plot and dialogue prove more obnoxiously off-kilter than disarmingly odd. The arrival of the aforementioned Brazis, all played by Smith himself no less, will likely be the tipping point for many audiences, inspiring them to up-arms in despair or give themselves over to his demented vision.
Though the visual effects are to a point surprisingly not-awful (until the Bratzis start getting squished, anyway), there’s little in the way of the Dante-inspired charm here Smith is clearly in search of. Rather, it feels loony for no sake but its own, and as rolled into an increasingly barmy third act, rings more desperate than fun.
Yoga Hosers represents both the benefits and pitfalls of unrestrained artistic expression (though far more of the latter than the former), and while it gains an extra star for Ralph Garman’s hilarious performance as a celebrity-impersonating Nazi, on the whole Smith’s latest fails to convince it has any right being anything more than an idea chuckled about on one of the director’s many podcasts.
Yoga Hosers is in cinemas now