This week at the movies, we’ve got an unlikely crime fighter (The Green Hornet, starring Seth Rogen and Jay Chou) and some shaky relationships (The Dilemma, starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James). What do the critics have to say?
The Green Hornet, who began life as the star of a 1930s radio serial, is a little late to the gritty superhero reboot club. And the critics say despite the direction of the oft-whimsical Michel Gondry and the presence of likeable everyman Seth Rogen in the title role, The Green Hornet doesn’t quite succeed as a superhero flick or as a subversive send-up of the genre. Rogen plays the famed vigilante, who teams up with Kato (Jay Chou) to take on the mob after the death of a friend. The pundits say The Green Hornet has moments of inspiration, and that Chou is excellent, but that Gondry’s typical good humor is mostly missing here, resulting in a strange mix of wisecracking and ultra-violence that never quite gels.
There’s nothing wrong with a comedy that explores the dark side of modern romance – as long as it can make us laugh. Critics say that’s the main problem with Ron Howard’s The Dilemma: it’s not particularly insightful or funny, mucking around in dispiriting territory before bailing out with shopworn slapstick. Vince Vaughn and Kevin James star as a pair of old buds and business partners whose friendship is about to be tested by a big business deal — and the fact that Vaughn has inadvertently learned that James’s wife (played by Winona Ryder) may be having an affair. The pundits say it’s a decent setup, and the cast (particularly Vaughn) is game, but what transpires is more sour than satisfying; The Dilemma‘s pacing problems and tonal shifts undermine both the comedic and dramatic elements of the script. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Ryder’s best-reviewed movies.)
Also opening this week in limited release:
Petition, a documentary about Chinese citizens patiently seeking justice for government abuses, is at 100 percent.
A Somewhat Gentle Man, a dark comedy about a gangster who reluctantly takes on a new job, is at 71 percent.
Plastic Planet, a doc about the environmental impact of plastic, is at 60 percent.