January 14, 2011
Director: Michael Gondry
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz
Release Date: January 14, 2011
When I first saw a trailer for The Green Hornet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Seth Rogen had sold out. The nuanced Apatow king-of-comedy appeared to have abandoned his wildly successful mantra of making and starring in offbeat comedies that appealed to the dry, extraordinarily low-brow wit of contemporary America.
Thankfully, I was wrong.
While The Green Hornet is, in many ways, “old hat,” it certainly adds some desperately-needed humor to an otherwise played out formula.
The same bumbling, good-hearted protagonist that we’ve come to know in love in just about every one of Rogen’s offerings can be found here, and it seems that casting someone who’s not uber-sleek/muscular as a mainstream hero was a very good idea. The decision to parody much of what typically happens in this sort of fare is welcome, as is the seemingly “random” (let’s so “idiosyncratic”) pop-culture references that are sprinkled throughout. Nothing here feels trite, and, when it’s all said and done, it feels as if Rogen has remained true to form.
Christoph Waltz is, of course, great as the self-conscious, aging L.A. crime lord who feels that he needs to revamp his identity in order to maintain an intimidating persona. Also of note is Jay Chou as Kato, the true brains/muscle behind the Green Hornet operation. The dynamic that exists between Kato and Britt (Rogen) isn’t stale by any stretch of the imagination, and it seem as if they were both having tons of fun with the ridiculous characters they were given to play with.
As is the case with any modern day superhero flick, there are oodles of explosions, guns, hand-to-hand combat, etc. Some of it is over-the-top, but, really, isn’t that the point? When we see something unfold that completely defies the laws of physics (and or anatomy/biology) are we supposed to question its logical credence? With this sort of film, I’d argue that the answer is “no,” and it seems that Rogen, Gondry, and everyone else involved knew just how self-aware this flick would have to be in order to succeed.
And succeed it does. It doesn’t quite have the edge of the R-rated films we’re used to receiving from our lead, but it’s funny nevertheless, and never really hits a lull.
That’s a good thing, isn’t it?
out of 5
Check out a trailer for The Green Hornet: