Seann William Scott bulks up and quiets down in "Goon," a based-on-a-true-story comedy in which Scott plays Doug Glatt, a suburban Boston bar bouncer with a dubious talent for punching people hard. That talent gets him discovered by the local semi-pro hockey team, whose coach (Nicholas Campbell) hires him as the team's "enforcer" in spite of Doug's inability to skate.
But Doug quickly learns and is soon picked up by a minor-league team in Halifax, which needs a bruiser to protect its star, Xavier LaFlamme (Marc-AndrÃ© Grondin), who's too skittish to play well since getting pounded three years earlier by the NHL's nastiest enforcer, Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber).
The power behind the film is Jay Baruchel, the Canadian-born actor ("The Sorcerer's Apprentice") who pours his hockey love into the script (co-written with "Superbad's" Evan Goldberg). Baruchel also plays Doug's obnoxiously foul-mouthed best buddy, and as producer got his fiancÃ©e, Alison Pill ("Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"), on board as Doug's reluctant love interest.
Director Michael Dowse ("Take Me Home Tonight") doesn't flinch from the profanity-laden dialogue or the bloody on-ice battles, which culminate in predictable sports-cliche style with a confrontation between Doug and Rhea.
Scott gives the best performance of his career, forever proving he's more than his "American Pie" horndog Steve Stifler by showing Doug as both hard-headed and soft-hearted.
Opens Friday, April 20, at Brewvies Cinema Pub; rated R for brutal violence, nonstop language, some strong sexual content and drug use; 92 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit nowsaltlake.com/movies.