Wondering what Seth Rogen and Michel Gondry's collaboration on a superhero movie might look like? So were we, and when The Green Hornet was screened after WW press deadlines, we hurried in.

The Green Hornet


WW Critic's Score: 65

Call it a flattening of genre, or maybe just expectations: With Michel Gondry's The Green Hornet, the superhero movie and the movie about a regular guy pretending to be a superhero have become indistinguishable. The caper, from a script by Seth Rogen and Superbad buddy Evan Goldberg, chronicles insouciant layabouts (Rogen and Jay Chou) becoming casual crimefighters; appropriately, the movie is endearingly amateurish. In fact it feels like nothing so much as a "swede," one of the backyard VHS remakes cobbled together by video-store employees in Gondry's Be Kind Rewind. The look on Rogen's face throughout is that of a man who can't fully believe he's starring in a real action picture.

This is pedestrian filmmaking--but it is a cheekily jaywalking pedestrian. The continuity is alarmingly slapdash (in one scene, the characters excitedly recount an act of vandalism that happens 10 minutes later) even as the screenplay blithely ignores the pieties expected from this sort of thing: Rogen's Hornet and Chou's Kato don their masks in a fit of petulance, ignore the copious collateral damage in their wake, and learn absolutely no lessons. In one scene of exposition, they plot their undercover vigilantism in front of a bank of televisions, each one showing a more horrific news event that they don't notice: a fatal train crash, a herd of escaped elephants. Most of the movie's lines are mock-heroic, with emphasis on the mockery. "Sit with me, Kato, tell me your tale." "My name is Danny Clear. I deal crystal meth." I can't recommend this with any seriousness. But I enjoyed most of it.

Except in one flashback sequence, Gondry doesn't indulge his taste for handicrafts, but the converted 3-D makes the whole movie look like it was made with paper dolls. Tom Wilkinson appears briefly at the outset as the hero's imperious, cold father; he could be a stand-in for a more professional breed of filmmaking, and The Green Hornet constantly extends that era a middle finger. (That's certainly the attitude with which our boys regard the old man's outmoded newspaper: They use the newsroom as a shooting gallery, and literally stop the presses, with a car.) This is fanboy cinema--made by fanboys, for fanboys, about fanboys. Until Hollywood tells the audience to run along and make their own movies, here is the next best thing. PG-13.

The Green Hornet opens Friday at Century at Clackamas Town Center, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99 Stadium 11, Cinemas Bridgeport Village Stadium 18&IMAX, City Center Stadium 12, Cornelius 9 Cinemas, Division Street Stadium 13, Evergreen Parkway Stadium 13, Hilltop 9 Cinema, Lloyd Center Stadium 10 Cinema, Lloyd Mall 8 Cinema, Movies On TV Stadium 16, Pioneer Place Stadium 6, Sherwood Stadium 10, Tigard 11 Cinemas, Wilsonville Stadium 9 Cinema.