Slight Sting

Rogen and company take on The Green Hornet

There should be no doubt that director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) is a genius; unfortunately, his 3D action/comedy spectacle, The Green Hornet, isn’t. It’s really more of a by-the-book bro-mantic comedy at heart, which is no surprise since it was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad). Still, it is an interesting step taken by an interesting director and does have a handful of thrills and modest laughs.

A thinned-down Rogen, displaying little trace of his previous schmucky, star-making roles, is Britt Reid, your average egotistical playboy. He’s left in charge of a major L.A. newspaper when his father (Tom Wilkinson) turns up dead. Britt becomes close with his father’s super-genius mechanic, Kato (Jay Chou), and before you know it, he decides that what he’d really like to do is fight crime.

Luckily, Kato is also a karate expert, so when Britt hits the streets under the name “The Green Hornet,” he’s actually able to upset things in the L.A. underworld and catch the attention of the nefarious Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz). Along the way there’s a fantastic cameo from James Franco as a rival drug lord, Edward James Olmos as a crusty old newspaper man and Cameron Diaz as Britt’s secretary/love interest. In the hands of Gondry, Rogen and Goldberg, this 1930s radio serial becomes a spoof of superhero cinema, similar to what Rogen and director David Gordon Green did to the action thriller genre with Pineapple Express. And after several years now of ultra-dark, hard-boiled super heroics, it’s a refreshing approach to take.

But there’s something a little too casual about The Green Hornet. It feels extremely unfocused, which is insane considering that this movie has been in the works, in one form or another, since 1992. One big problem is how strangely so much of the dialogue is delivered. Many conversations, especially between Rogen and Chou, feel like they’re audition footage, like the actors are slightly hesitant and uncomfortable. Much of this probably has to do with Chou’s less than perfect command of English, and perhaps because Gondry, a Frenchman, isn’t native to the language himself.

That might sound like a small criticism, but it’s one of several weak links that leave The Green Hornet less than satisfying, both for fans of Gondry and, presumably, for fans of the character.

Grade: C

posted at 04:44 pm
on Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

COMMENTS

(We're testing Disqus commenting (finally!); please let us know if you have trouble.)

comments powered by Disqus

 

« Previous Page


Just Watch Once

Don’t Think Twice isn’t quite a misfire, but it’s still a bit disappointing after such a promising start. The first half hour or so felt as if it was setting up the best, most original comedy of...

more »


Hard Not to Laika

“Show your work.”

That statement is both an admonition given by rigid mathematics instructors and part of the reason why stop-motion animation continues to captivate. The meticulous, painstaking...

more »


Funny Noir Die

Sporting dialogue hotter than a recently spent shell casing and comedy slightly less dark than a necrophiliac stand-up comedian’s set, The Nice Guys targets a niche audience. Luckily, I am pretty...

more »


You Keep Using That Word…

The word “indignation” is used to describe anger provoked by what is perceived to be unfair treatment…so why is the new film by James Schmaus called Indignation? I know it’s the title of the original...

more »


Kim Jong-Uh Oh

Have you ever asked a friend to take a picture of you, and they forced you to pose for far too long before revealing that they were actually recording video the entire time? It’s a practical joke...

more »







Advanced Search