A Little Too Much (“The Green Hornet” & “The Dilemma”)
 
            Yes, “The Green Hornet” is a re-make, and homage, both to the 1940’s version, and its subsequent radio program, and the one-season 1960’s television show, introducing Bruce Lee.  The plot is the same:  Britt Reid is a young man who has wasted most of his young life.  His rich Dad owns a big-city newspaper, and the Prodigal Son does, well, wine, women, and song, and not necessarily in a dignified manner.  But when Dad dies suddenly, and, we find out later, mysteriously, Britt (Seth Rogen) finds out some things about the Dad he thought he knew.  He meets Kato (Jay Chou), his Dad’s personal mechanic and coffee preparer, and discovers that he, too, has been slacking:  there’s an inventor, karate expert, and wise-cracking sidekick hidden in there somewhere.  And Britt, for his part, is now prepared to take over the reins of a newspaper he knows nothing about (real journalists may shudder here), and investigate whether the slimy D.A. was, in fact, in cahoots with his Dad to suppress crime statistics for political purposes.  And the main benefactor of that unfortunate misinformation is the chief bad guy, Chudnosky (Christoph Waltz).  The Green Hornet, aka Britt Reid, emerges at first as simply a self-appointed citizen vigilante in the midst of a city ridden with crime and rife with corruption.  Britt and Kato team up to fight organized crime, on behalf of hapless citizens, in a way that we would love to see happen in places like….. Juarez .  Except this particular version of “Green Hornet” can’t decide whether it’s a slacker comedy, a superhero drama, a love triangle with gross-out humor, an action movie with muscle cars and shoot-‘em-ups, or a “bromance” involving two guys who can’t decide whether to fight the bad guys or each other.  So they just throw it all in the mix and hope something works, which makes it very uneven.  And isn’t Cameron Diaz getting a little long in the tooth to be the slacker heartthrob? 
            The trouble with “The Dilemma” is that it can’t decide, either, what it wants to be when it grows up.  Vince Vaughan (nobody will remember the character names, anyway) is in love with Jennifer Connelly, except he just can’t bring himself to “pop the question.” His best friend, Kevin James, keeps urging him to do so, representing marital bliss with his cute, perky wife, Winona Ryder.  The guys are also partners in a fledging car design business, and the two couples are very good social friends.  It’s all very cozy, until Vince accidently discovers that Winona has a lover.  This disturbs him greatly, but he is somehow unable to bring himself to tell his friend Kevin, choosing, instead, to confront Winona, who tells him to mind his own business.  He tries, but he can’t.  So he goes to confront the boyfriend (Channing Tatum), but that doesn’t go well, either.  He’s been acting so strangely that his girlfriend organizes an “intervention,” where too many truths come out, enough to permanently damage everyone’s relationship.  And this is supposed to be a comedy?  Well, it’s awkward humor, at best.  And it, too, is more of a “bromance,” in that it’s really about the relationship between the two men.  But it isn’t a lot of fun, and it certainly isn’t lighthearted.
            Both “The Green Hornet” and “The Dilemma” are January movies for a reason:  there’s no need to release them quickly before the Oscar deadline.  They won’t be in the running.  They’re decidedly mixed bags of movie viewing. 
 
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas