"The Green Hornet" really a slacker buddy comedy Read more: Davis County Clipper - Movie Beat ‘The Green Hornet’ great slacker buddy comedy

Even movies, it seems, can have hard-to-discover secret identities.

As it turns out, “The Green Hornet” isn’t really a superhero movie at all. It’s actually a slacker buddy comedy with the occasional car chase and explosion.

In fact, it’s actually “Batman” remade as a slacker buddy comedy, which is the kind of idea I thought people had only after severe sleep deprivation and a case of the giggles. Whatever Seth Rogen and director Michel Gondry’s creative process was, however, the results are goofy, sweet, incredibly awkward and sometimes surprisingly hilarious.

The plot, such as it is, involves underachieving and largely useless playboy Britt (Rogen), who suddenly becomes in charge of a crusading newspaper after his dad died. He and his dad, naturally, had tons of issues, and in the aftermath Britt meets an underachieving young man named Kato, (played by Jay Chou). Kato spends his days making coffee and fixing cars when he has the kind of inventing and engineering skills that would get him hired on at Stark Industries in a second, and on top of that has some serious ninja skills. Somehow they bond, and sort of stumble into fighting crime in the middle of a prank. More awkwardness ensues.

Though the show’s title and a few loose structural details come from an old radio series about a genuine masked vigilante, anyone looking for the awe, grandeur, or even self-aware satire that fills superhero movies these days is going to be sorely disappointed. Like any true slacker comedy, the movie isn’t focused or biting enough for satire and couldn’t inspire awe even with a million dollars at its disposal (much like Britt). Instead, it’s an exploration of what happens when two losers are dropped into a situation infinitely larger than their capabilities, and try to awkwardly bumble their way through it together.

Watching them try is by turns completely awkward and extremely funny. I’d suggest plugging your ears each and every time Britt tries to hit on Cameron Diaz (who didn’t seem any more sure what she was doing in this movie than I was) but the scene where she has to try and dig a bullet out of Britt’s shoulder was so wrong (yet so very right) that I was nearly doubled over. There’s also an early sequence with the gas gun that’s just perfect, and throughout the entire movie I heard more laughs from the audience than I did at the last romantic comedy I went to.

There’s the question, though, of what the clearly skilled and genius Kato is doing as either 1) an underachiever or 2) hanging out with a lunkhead like Britt. Chou, though, plays Kato as an extreme loner who never had time to develop a ton of social skills while he was out being awesome, and he and Rogen do manage to have some genuinely sweet moments.

Of course, you also kind of wish for Kato to punch Britt in the face sometimes, but if you’re patient the movie gives you that, too.

Cristoph Waltz has an almost absurdist turn as a villain clearly going through a midlife crisis of some kind, and is owed the credit for one half of what may be the oddest yet most genius villain showdown ever (points to James Franco for the other half). Cameron, as the movie’s only female character with more than five lines, is there solely to make sure the boys fight later.

The pointlessness of the role, however, isn’t her fault (it’s a common problem with female roles in slacker comedies), and she does what she can with the extremely small portion she’s been given.

In the end, though, it’s the two guys who are the real attraction of the movie. But for the sake of your expectations, don’t make the mistake of calling them the heroes.

Note: For most of the planet, there’s absolutely no reason to watch this movie in 3D. If you’re one of those people who really miss the fact that 3D movies don’t usually have stuff flying out of the screen anymore however, this might be exactly what you were looking for.

Read more: Davis County Clipper - Movie Beat ‘The Green Hornet’ really a slacker buddy comedy.


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