How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've played hockey? In "Youngblood," an aspiring hockey player named Dean Youngblood (a typically soulless Rob Lowe) throws down his pitchfork, goes off to Canada to play in a junior league and, also, becomes a man.
How does he become a man? I was afraid you'd ask that.
First, there's girls. He stays at the boarding house of one Miss McGill (Fionulla Flanagan), a tart with a thing for hockey players. There goes the virginity. Next, he's wandering in the halls outside the locker room, wearing only a jockstrap, when Jessie (Cynthia Gibb), a minx out of the files of Humbert Humbert, stumbles upon his bare bum. This is known as a "cute meet." And you'll never guess, but do you know who Jessie is? The coach's daughter!!!!!!!
Then, there's fighting. Dean has this crazy idea that hockey is about putting the puck in the net. What a sap. After his best friend on the team, Sutton (an amiable Patrick Swayze), gets his skull caved in by the league enforcer, Racki (George Finn), Dean realizes that being a man means more than skating.
This is real paint-by-the-numbers stuff -- "Youngblood" states every theme and conflict explicitly, and more than once (in case you were out getting popcorn the first time). Besides the aforementioned cute meet, there is a drinking scene and a sex montage and a gross-out number (girl laughing into straw blows drink all over face) and an Argument With Girlfriend About What's Really Important in Life and a Dark Night of the Soul and . . .
Writer-director Peter Markle has said that he's always been captivated by the "fluidity" of hockey, but he's composed "Youngblood" in the style of "Rocky IV," all close-ups of skates, slow motion, and a menacing "Bwaaaaaaah!" on the synthesizer score, as the evil Racki sneers for the camera. (There's even a "Rocky"-style training montage, complete with heavy bag silhouetted against sunset and situps in the barn.) The poor coach in "Youngblood" complains that hockey players don't have the heart they used to have. Sometimes I feel the same way about filmmakers.
Youngblood, at area theaters, is rated R, and contains nudity, sexual situations, profanity and violence.