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Remembering Kevin Smith's Bizarre Teen Horror-Comedy Yoga Hosers
Join us on this journey down a quirkier, bonkers corner of Kevin Smith's catalog.
Mention the films of Kevin Smith in any group of movie lovers, and you'll get a wide array of responses ranging from pans to praise to opinions that mirror the rollercoaster that has been Smith's own career both critically and commercially. To me, that's the mark of an interesting filmmaker, even if Smith's detractors might disagree. From the very beginning, with the success of Clerks, he established himself as the kind of filmmaker who would follow his own instincts whenever possible, no matter where they took him, and that means that even when he doesn't quite hit the mark, he's doing something memorable.
It also means that, over the course of his 21st century career in particular, Smith has let himself get just plain strange with some of his film choices. After years of making comedies at various levels of budget and ambition, he transitioned into horror cinema with Red State, then started to explore that space in new ways with Tusk, a body horror film that's genuinely unsettling and fittingly odd given its premise. But Smith wasn't done. Tusk, he revealed, was actually the first part of a connected trilogy of films all set in Smith's version of Canada (a country for which he has a fondness that almost rises to the level of his Jersey pride), starring many of the same characters.
Which brings us to Yoga Hosers.
Why Now Is a Great Time to Revisit Yoga Hosers, Now on Peacock
Released in 2016 and co-starring Smith's own daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, alongside Lily-Rose Depp, Yoga Hosers is, at first blush, a bit of a return to Clerks territory for Smith, as he follows the two convenience store clerks from Tusk on a new adventure. Colleen M. (Smith) and Colleen C. (Depp) are back to their regular lives after the events of the last film, but in between trying to get into Grade 12 parties and rehearsing with their band, something else is afoot. It turns out that the very land their store is built on was once owned by Canadian Nazis, who've spent decades planning for their glorious return. Their plan is a little... well, ridiculous, and involves a horde of miniature creatures who are basically little German sausages that the girls dub "Bratzis." Add in the local cool boy's (Austin Butler) plan to murder them, and the Colleens are in for a rough night.
This is all, of course, completely bonkers, and to the film's eternal credit nothing about Yoga Hosers ever attempts to pose as something it is not. Smith has been open about his stoner years and how they impacted his work, just as he's been very open with his audience about how talking through ideas on his podcasts has helped to guide his career to different places. Yoga Hosers is a product of both of these things, and it feels like it. That might mean that people who aren't initiated into Smith's little media empire end up slightly lost, but if you're willing to simply accept, as the film itself does, that what you're watching is just plain weird, you'll find yourself a little more at home.
But while Smith is the film's creator, no one is more at home in Yoga Hosers than the duo of Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Quinn Smith. The plot is insane, the jokes don't always hit, and the film's focus swings wildly around over the course of its 88-minute runtime, but if you're looking for a film with a true beating heart, you'll find it in the Colleens. They have unassailable chemistry together, and their friendship, combined with their dual abilities to sell even the most over-the-top lines over the course of the film, means that there's always a sense of fun moving through the whole piece. It might not always make sense, but Yoga Hosers is a film that knows how to let its leads play in the space, and it's better for it.
From the very beginning, Kevin Smith films have retained a certain seat-of-your-pants joy, the feeling that we're watching a bunch of friends put on a show together, no matter how big the budget or how strange the concept. It's there in Clerks, in misfires like Jersey Girl, and even in the TV work he's done in the Arrowverse. With Kevin Smith, there's always this infectious sense that he can't believe he's getting away with it, that they're somehow still letting him live out his dreams. Yoga Hosers, for all its unevenness, never loses that, and that makes the film a genuinely engrossing experience even when it's just plain chaos.
Yoga Hosers is now streaming on Peacock.