Shockingly enough, H-E Double Hockey Sticks still aired on the Disney Channel back in the early 2000s. I guess it makes sense if you consider the source material. But a film that partially takes place in hell? Very odd choice.
But I guess it’s less surprising when you realize how badly it wants to be a kids’ movie. Most of the references and puns will definitely go over children’s heads, yet it’s constantly talking down to them anyway–sticking itself in an awkward position of being a film for neither adults nor kids. You could say it’s their way of trying to appeal to both. But for adults to enjoy it more, it can’t compromise its dialogue.
Will Friedle plays Griffelkin, the devil’s apprentice. He’s sent to Earth to sway professional hockey player, Dave Heinrich (Matthew Lawrence), to sign over his soul in exchange for his team winning the Stanley Cup.
The plot is mostly stretched thin–even for its short runtime–but it picks up once its main objective is reached nearing the 3rd act. But then the film ends abruptly without the entire theme ever becoming fully realized for the audience.
The first two acts coast along on Friedle’s talents and improvisations, relying on him too much to carry the film. It allows him almost too much freedom, preventing the movie from taking itself seriously enough. It’s almost too goofy for its dark premise. But then again, if that’s the case, it should be funnier.
Friedle is at his best when playing off of Lawrence’s straight-man–much like their dynamic on Boy Meets World. Fans of the TV show will undoubtedly enjoy seeing the actors together again–especially if they’ve never seen this film before. Because watching it a 2nd time may be a chore no matter how much you like them.
The film is far from perfect. Though the acting is passable, the script is marginal at best. It’s not too porous, but the holes that do exist are distracting.
Plot holes don’t always make or break film. Many times they go unnoticed in a truly entertaining one. The worst kinds of holes are the ones that are so distracting that they prevent you from enjoying the rest of the story.
Griffelkin has this device called a flip fork (pun on flip phone), which is a magical tool that can make anything do what he wants it to do. He has supernatural powers that assist him in obtaining his goal. Yet, he spends about 15 minutes towards the beginning trying to find Dave and getting into the same room as him. Are we just supposed to accept this frustrating inconsistency? It is a kids movie after all–but then again, not really, because it takes place in hell and has jokes about flipping people off.
The ending isn’t quite as dark, but the lessons learned don’t really come to light, and we’re stuck remembering this as a film about a guy selling his soul to the devil–not about a devil’s apprentice finally seeing the light.
It’s an odd movie. At its best, it’s original–considering the context. Although it’s still entertaining enough to watch, and may evoke enough nostalgia that it doesn’t matter.