The Green Hornet (12A)
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz
Friday 14 January 2011
Michel Gondry's directorial career has been an uneven one, swinging from highs (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) to lows (The Science of Sleep, Be Kind Rewind), yet at least whatever he offered was ident ifiably his own.
Hard to know why he was persuaded on board for this, a trashy superhero comedy (in yawnsome 3D) that tries to reproduce the innocent charm of its origins as a 1930s radio serial. Part of the problem is its lead: Seth Rogen has massively overdrawn on his teddy-bear charm (cf Jack Black), and his attempts to put a comic slant on the eponymous playboy-turned-nincompoop-vigilante just don't catch fire – he's looking trimmer these days, but he's lost his pep along with the extra pounds. Jay Chou as his crime-fighting partner, Kato, fares slightly better, even if his diction is on a par with Jackie Chan's. The script is incredibly slack (that's Rogen's fault, too, co-writing with Evan Goldberg) and wastes the immaculate timing of the Austrian actor Christoph Waltz (an Oscar winner for Inglourious Basterds) as a criminal kingpin who's insecure about his reputation. Halfway through it more or less stops trying to amuse us and turns into a demolition derby with the volume turned up, and you realise the cars and the gadgetry have been geared all along for an audience of 12-year-old boys. And even 12-year-olds might feel insulted by the cursory role handed to Cameron Diaz as Rogen's simpering secretary.
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