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…..
. 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
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
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