It’s a funny idea: Seth Rogen as a comic-book-style action hero.
Unfortunately, when “The Green Hornet” focuses on action instead of comedy, even Rogen himself – Slacker Numero Uno – can’t lift this lightweight effort above cartoonishness.
Part of the problem – most of the problem, really – is that the film was directed by the incredibly overrated Michel Gondry, whose last outing was the virtually unwatchable “Be Kind Rewind.” There’s a difference between comic-book action and cartoonishness, something that Gondry doesn’t seem to recognize. “The Green Hornet” suffers as a result.
Rogen plays Britt Reid, hard-partying playboy heir to a media empire overseen by his stern father (Tom Wilkinson), crusading editor of the L.A. Daily Sentinel. But when daddy dearest dies mysteriously, Britt is forced to man up and step up to take control of the newspaper – a job that couldn’t interest him less.
Then he meets Kato (Chou), his father’s driver and mechanic – who blows Britt’s mind with both his mechanical prowess and, later, with his martial-arts skills. Through a convoluted series of events, Britt gets an idea: He and Kato will become masked crime-fighters by pretending to be criminals.
Their target: a silky but insecure crime boss named Chudnofsky (Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz). Their conflict: Both Britt and Kato have the hots for Britt’s new secretary, played by Cameron Diaz in a role that’s a complete afterthought.
The best parts of “Green Hornet” allow Rogen to play Britt as a big goofy kid with all the toys in the world at his disposal. But that gets lost once Gondry turns this into a far-fetched action film.
And, oh yeah, “The Green Hornet” is being released in box-office-boosting 3D, despite the fact that there’s nothing about it that is remotely three-dimensional. There’s nothing in the movie that begs for the 3D treatment – and so nothing gets it, except for the animated closing credits.
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