29 January 2011

The Green Hornet *

This is a lousy movie. There's just nothing else to say about it. Seth Rogan wrote a lousy movie. Michel Gondry directed a lousy movie. I am shocked at how bad it was, and I would have walked out of the theater had I been seeing it alone (and I never do that -- in fact I've never done it). Rogan's Britt Reid is an unrepentant dickhole who lives in a world of bro-tastic bro-ness, complete with debilitatingly intense gay panic and that weird, acerbic camaraderie entrenched in an ugly loathing for oneself and everyone else in roughly equal measure. It is styleless, toothless, and feckless. Rogan and Jay Chou have zero chemistry. Diaz, Waltz, Wilkinson, and EJO all play thankless, meaningless roles -- more like props than characters, in fact. And I haven't seen this many nutshots in a single movie... ever.

Funny enough I didn't hate it, but almost. I went in expecting it to be bad and it was at least as bad as I'd expected. I have nothing invested in the idea of a good Green Hornet story, though I'm aware enough of the original to see how shoehorning in a frat-boy trustafarian douchebag and a lot of "dude don't be so gay" jokes is egregiously off-key. There were almost no spots that worked, and even less that made the remotest bit of sense. Most of the Gondryisms were half-assed and felt like afterthoughts to a story that didn't call for any -- the only one I even enjoyed was the screen-splitting montage of word-of-mouth, but it was pretty unmotivated and too deaden to be whimsical -- and honestly? That's just an expansion on an effect he'd pretty much already mastered 13 years ago.

The editing, too, deserves a special note for how pointedly lazy it is with the story: a newsroom scene has a bunch of reporters rattle off a list of offenses the Green Hornet has been seen doing over the past few days, which is followed by (not preceded by) a rock-n-roll montage of them doing all those things -- most obviously, shooting out a stoplight-camera. I imagine they decided the scenes worked better in the opposite order, but anyone actually paying the tiniest bit of attention to dialogue would find it a little suspicious that the Hornet seems surprised by the ability to shoot out a stoplight-camera if they'd just done so last night as well. I'm not convinced anyone cared.

I hate to say this -- then again, it's also not the first time I've said it -- Michel Gondry is not a brilliant director without a brilliant script to interpret, and one that calls for his particular skills. This film is neither of those things, even a little bit. Science of Sleep and Be Kind Rewind both play as sloppy messes as films, but as passable entertainment as delivery systems for Gondryesque moments. Human Nature is decent, and of course Eternal Sunshine is a truly gorgeous perfect-storm of talent and style, but The Green Hornet should have been a McG project that nobody paid any attention to or something. At best it might have been doctored and worked into a good movie by David Gordon Green or Jody Hill, maybe. But there's nothing for Gondry here. And Seth Rogan is at least as unlikable here as he is anywhere. This film is... yuck. It's just lousy.

Seen at the Regal Cinemas at Lancaster Mall.

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