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-André 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 fiancée, 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.