Director: Michel Gondry (2011)
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz
Find it: IMDB
Find it: IMDB
Not the unmitigated disaster that its troubled production history would have one imagine, The Green Hornet is like Pineapple Express filtered through Kick-Ass and Rush Hour. It stars Seth Rogen as Britt Reid, a rich playboy who, in a bid to make something of his life, becomes vigilante. Enter The Green Hornet. It's a good job that he has Kato (Chou) on his side, since Rogen is more useless here than he's ever been. He tones down the Rogenisms somewhat, but is still essentially playing, well, Seth Rogen. Reid thinks that he's the big cheese, but really it's Kato doing all of the hard work. The Green Hornet is a buddy comedy in which one of the buddies actually despises the other and the hero is really, really useless.
Despite Rogen and Chou's affability and charisma (Chou is stilted, but it works), the movie is essentially owned by Christoph Waltz's bad guy, Chudnofsky. It's a loony role literally written for Nicolas Cage, but Waltz fills it with his inimitable sense of palpable menace and actorly gravitas. Neurotic and suffering a midlife crisis, Chudnofsky isn't the dime-a-dozen gangster villain he easily could have been and is as fun to watch as Jack Nicholson's Joker.
A fun cameo at the start of the movie sets up Chudnofsky and the rest of things to come. Chubby Edward Furlong pops up for about five minutes. A "gay fart gun" gets a few good laughs, the phrase "disco Santa Claus" gets a good airing, and there's the funniest fight scene since Pineapple Express.
But. It's a bloated movie. Gondry's direction lacks its usual flare. Cameron Diaz's presence is inexplicable, since she does nothing. She's like Iron Man's Pepper Potts, only shorn of Gwyneth Paltrow's odd likeability in the role. She compares unfavourably to Gwyneth Paltrow, which says it all really. It takes too long to finish, with one Lord Of The Rings wrap-up after the other. Some of the jokes fall flat and there's an overreliance on Kato's 'Katovision'. And let's not even mention the 3D, which isn't.
There are faults, then. But then, I can't bring myself to not enjoy The Green Hornet, flabby and shabby as it occasionally might be.