The second in writer-director Kevin Smith’s projected Canada-set “True North” trilogy after 2014’s seriocomic horror yarn Tusk, Yoga Hosers tells an extravagantly ridiculous tale that accommodates everything from a Manitoban Nazi to crudely animated sentient pieces of German-accented, mountie-dressed talking bratwurst (called, naturally, “Brat-zis”). Smith also lards the film up with lame Canadian caricatures, frequent bathroom humor, and tired bits of satire, all aimed at the millennial set, revolving around such things as the supposed pretentiousness of yoga. This is the kind of film that considers myriad instances of Canadians saying “aboot” and a knockoff of Lucky Charms called Pucky Charms to be the epitome of wit.
If Yoga Hosers is any indication, Smith remains obsessed with spraying contempt at a younger generation. He punished Justin Long’s selfish podcast-hosting protagonist from Tusk—a man who profited from other people’s misfortunes and felt no shame about cheating on his girlfriend—by making him the prey of a psychotic old man who took his obsession with walruses to a Dr. Frankenstein-like extreme. But if the filmmaker managed to work up at least an inkling of pathos for that young man’s horrifying plight, no such compassion is extended toward the two teenagers at the heart of Yoga Hosers: Colleen C. (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen M. (Harley Quinn Smith), the two indifferent convenience-store clerks who briefly appeared in Tusk.
Any of the film’s attempts at moralizing are subsumed by Kevin Smith’s obsession with taking aim at his critics.
Both girls are stereotypes of narcissistic millennials, their eyes often glued to their phones, and obsessed with their social-media presences above all else (which Smith illustrates by introducing characters via Instagram-like on-screen posts, complete with hashtags and comments). By forcing these two characters—along with gumshoe Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp), who also appeared in Tusk—to do battle with a malefactor from Canada’s past, Yoga Hosers is meant, to some degree, to chronicle the two girls’ increasing awareness of a world outside their narrow fame-obsessed purview.
Ultimately, though, any attempts at moralizing are subsumed by Smith’s obsession with taking aim at his critics. It turns out that the film’s villain—a Canadian Nazi (played by Haley Joel Osment in fake archival footage, and Ralph Garman in the present day) who’s managed to stay alive by freezing himself for 75 years before the two Colleens accidentally wake him up—isn’t at all interested in Hitler-like world domination through racial genocide. No, his intentions are relatively more mundane: He’s only interested in becoming a world-famous artist, and he eventually initiates a plan to kill all art critics. If Yoga Hosers suggests anything, it’s that Smith is driven by similar fantasies. The film offers the spectacle of a filmmaker not only stuck in arrested development, but basking in it, thumbing his nose at anyone who would dare to call him out on it. Why we in the audience should follow him down this road is a question Smith appears to have never bothered to ask.