For movie studios, January is traditionally the time when they dumpoff their really bad stuff. Coincidentally, I have a birthday comingup.
I like the idea that companies who produce stuff likeBattleship and Transformers 8: Sexy Young Stars Pound a Pileof Scrap Metal with a Sledgehammer for 150 Minutes are capable ofbeing embarrassed enough to wait to release their worst movies untileveryone's all distracted by awards shows, resolutions to eat lesscake, and dying alone in a wind-carved snowfield. Alternately, itcould be less about embarrassment and more about believing a givenpicture probably won't make much money (i.e. only slightly more thanyou and three generations of your offspring will make in yourcollective lifetimes).
Whatever the case, in much the same way I fully expect to see a doubleplay whenever the Mariners load the bases, I'm now conditioned toexpect nothing but unrelenting torture from my January theatergoing.Lowered expectations can have a big positive impact on how you firstview a movie, but in the case of The Green Hornet, I think it'ddo just fine without them.
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Seth Rogen is the hard-partying son of hard-nosed Tom Wilkinson, ownerof a high-profile LA newspaper. When Wilkinson dies of a bee sting,Rogen bonds with Jay Chou, Wilkinson's mechanic, who knew the old mancould be tough on those around him.
Together, Rogen and Chou strike out to engage in some anti-Wilkinsonvandalism, but end up beating down a vicious gang of thugs. Inspiredby Chou's martial ability, Rogen comes up with a new plan: together,they'll pose as bad guys to bring the city's crime bosses crashingdown.
The Green Hornet is directed by Michel Gondry, which is alittle like hiring a baboon to tutor your 6-year-old in the math. Anaverage baboon, too, not those illegal Canadian ones you can teach todrive your car and poison the neighbor's lawn. Gondry's known for worksuch as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Be KindRewind-- stuff that has little to no interest in the powerfulkicking of asses.
For a while, his offkilter approach works great with cowriters Rogenand Evan Goldberg's joke-heavy script, suggesting a goofier, sloppieraction flick is on the way.
Then it becomes, well, your typical action flick.
But it's a pretty good one. Gondry's visual panache (I think that's abreakfast pastry) leads to some bright, thrilling,anarchic-yet-tightly-choreographed action scenes. They're not asrevolutionary as, say, inventing weights that lift themselves, butthey are a lot of fun to watch.
So enjoy that while The Green Hornet's plot is fumbling to keepits villains involved. Or Chou's performance, which is funny and justa bit touching. Yeah, Rogen and Chou's crime-busting escapades areglossed over pretty fast and their inevitable falling out doesn't goanywhere particularly interesting, but the cast (including ChristophWaltz and Edward James Olmos) is as strong as Strongdor, God ofPunching.
Your final appreciation of The Green Hornet is going to rideheavily on whether you like Rogen and Goldberg's sense of humor(they've also written Superbad and Pineapple Express).If you're a fan, you'll probably be a fan of this. If you're not, Ishake my head sadly at you and say a silent prayer for the death ofyour inner child. Or inner stoner. Actually, there's no pot humor inthis one, unless you count the gun that shoots green knockout gas,which you probably should.
Most of my disappointment with The Green Lantern didn't comeuntil I sat down to think about it. In the moment, you may be laughingtoo much to care.