Oh Seth Rogen, how I’ve missed you. It’s been about a year and a half since your last starring role (Funny People), and while I was one of few admirers of that film, it’s nice to have you back where you’re obviously far more comfortable. As great as it is to see you improv scenes with your buddies, you seem especially at ease when you’re working with your own material and it rings even more true now with The Green Hornet finally gracing the big screen.
As Rogen has shown through his work on TV (Undeclared, Da Ali G Show) and even more so in film (Superbad, Pineapple Express and even Drillbit Taylor), along with long-time best friend/co-writer Evan Goldberg, there’s no material they can’t make spectacularly funny. Having the luck of working with such directors at the helm (Judd Apatow, Greg Mottola, David Gordon Green and finally, Michel Gondry), they were all surprising choices having mostly indie cred amongst them.
Having been a fan of Gondry’s since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, some of his misfires have still been great work if a little misguided. Human Nature had an interesting enough script but it appeared as if the studios didn’t have enough faith in him to bring all his talent to the table. The Science of Sleep was more heavy-handed than some would have anticipated but was still a great peek into the psyche that is Gondry’s. Admittedly during the first act of The Green Hornet, while he brings on the funny, it’s not until the middle act that he finally unleashes the director we came to see.
Britt Reid starts out like any young and troubled youth. All he wants to do is keep a girl from getting picked on and is sent home from school; sent home really meaning going from the principal’s office to his father’s office. James Reid (Tom Wilkinson) is not your typical superhero father. He’s a single parent trying to run his own “Daily Sentinel” while keeping his dignity intact. If it’s at the expense of his son’s respect while ripping the head off his favorite action figure then so be it.
Twenty years later and dad’s mean spirited parenting techniques have turned Britt into a spoiled overgrown man-child who just wants to keep the party going. Whether making out with girls in every other car in his father’s garage to consensual sleepovers on his pull-out (insert Rogen’s own infectious laugh here), the best part of his day is his morning coffee. The time to grow up comes full force when James is found dead from an allergic reaction to a bee sting while out in the garden. As corny as that may sound you never doubt there’s a reason for something so mundane.