In the action/comedy/drama, The Green Hornet, Seth Rogan provides so little in terms of actual acting, it’s a wonder they didn’t just call the character Seth. Michel Gondry surprisingly directs this mess of a radio play/comic book/movie depicting the life of Britt Reid and his journey into becoming a super-hero.
The film begins with Reid as a child being “mistreated” by his father. We flash forward to twenty years later where we find Reid as a rich man’s son shirking all possible responsibilities. Reid’s father passes away leaving Reid the responsibility of running his newspaper. Reid continues to behave much like a character would from a Happy Madison production. There is no drama in the film and nothing is played with any goal other than laughs. The problem is there are few laughs to be found in the film, particularly in the beginning. Quickly we meet Kato played by Jay Chou and after some plot nonsense, the two of them decide to start fighting crime. Inexplicably Cameron Diaz shows up about a third of the way into the film as a journalist who is intent on bringing back the newspaper Reid’s father ran, to it’s former glory. I could go on to detail the super-heroics of the film and the typical third act but suffice to say, the film goes exactly where it seems it will and while some audiences might enjoy the ride, I was not one of them.
The most interesting part of the film to me was torn between trying to figure out why Michel Gondry was directing the film, and what exactly it was that Jay Chou was saying. Gondy apparently was allowed one scene to place his own style to the film, the rest looking very generic and Ratner/McG-ish. I’m a big fan of most of Gondy’s work including Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind but this film just felt nothing like that. The character of Kato is clearly the “cool” character of the film and the one that’s supposed to break out and be a fan favorite. I’ll give Chou credit as the majority of the film he’s good in the role but it’s honestly very difficult to understand what he’s saying at times and that’s a problem. The cast includes Tom Wilkinson, Edward James Olmos, Edward Furlong, and Christoph Waltz, yet none of these fine actors are given really anything worth doing on screen. It’s a real missed opportunity by Rogan and co-writer Evan Goldberg and I walked away feeling like giving a wide berth to the next film written by the duo.