Hey! Whoa! Very first The Green Hornet trailer has just come out. I don’t know about the rest of you, but to me it seemed to suddenly jump from “forgotten in development turn-around” to “coming soon” right outta nowhere. Of course “coming soon” means January 2011.
Uh… it’s written by Seth Rogen. This is a very silly man – very.
We may part ways here. I’ve noticed people often have a strong reaction to Seth. Some find him instantly irritating. These are usually people who are pretty stuck-up, self-important or have taste. Some find him to be comedy gold. These people are usually extremely silly themselves, under the legal drinking age or anyone who’s stoned. I guess I fall somewhere in the middle – an immature narcissist? And I think I may have left my roach around here somewhere…
We all remember him from The 40 Year Old Virgin giving advice about planting seeds when meeting women, “You’ve gotta wait till the seed grows into a plant. Then you’ve gotta fuck the plant.” Wait… still laughing. Okay. I’m good. Depending on who you talk to, Knocked Up wasn’t bad. I was impressed with Funny People – it managed to be touching, funny and uncomfortable. I’m surprised how many people didn’t seem to like it. Come to think of it, uncomfortable is Seth’s signature move. You want funny? It comes with a side of uncomfortable. Sincere? Yeah, that comes with a basket of twisty uncomfortables at no charge. Have you seen him interviewed? Dude’s uncomfortable. This is who he is.
But before he was famous for uncomfortable in front of the camera he was putting it on paper in the writers’ room. After his time on Freaks and Geeks he started writing and acting in Undeclared. Then writing for Sacha Baron Cohen’s Da Ali G Show – a show that with The Office brought British uncomfortable across the pond in a big way. Must’ve rubbed off on our ol’ Canuck Seth from Vancouver. He’s had time to grow comfortable with being uncomfortable. Bottom line, the guy’s done some writing, so it’s not like he suddenly decided take up gangsta rap, Joaquin Phoenix. (Best “shut up, I’m retiring!” plan ever.)
Thing is, I have yet to be deeply impressed by Seth Rogen himself either way. His most notable written works of late are Superbad (not bad – plus it gave us the lovely Emma Stone and McLovin), Drillbit Taylor (better than I thought it would be…) and Pineapple Express (um, complicated). You see, while watching Pineapple Express I was kinda just waiting for Danny McBride to cock his shotgun and say, “Thug life,” in a high pitched voice… then I was kinda waiting for the movie to be over. It wasn’t that I wasn’t enjoying it, really; I’m just not sure I was connecting with it. I was thinking of the laughs I’d have with my buddies about the movie outside the theater. I remember thinking that I’d probably be digging it more if I was as baked as the characters. But I must say that playing the “you remember that one scene where…” game with my friends later was probably even more enjoyable than the film itself. It may be one of the more memorable forgettable movies ever. He can be a very clever writer, he’s just not writing about people I know, you know?
Pineapple Express also made it easy to recognize that Seth really wants to do action super bad. (…intended.) He loves that comic book action. So here it is – his chance. The Green Hornet. Some funny’s fine. A little bit of silly may be okay – just a smidge. But in order to pull off a comic book superhero movie of this tone it’s going to have to be very different than anything he’s done before, in front of the camera or in the writers’ room. Seeing the amount of weight it looks like he’s dropped for the role gives me hope that he’s taking this seriously.
Another ray of uncertain hope? It’s directed by Michel Gondry. Yeah, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep and Be Kind Rewind Michel Gondry who made a name for himself doing sweetly twisted Björk videos (she of the dead swan dresses). No complaints from me. Guy’s got vision in spades. Eternal Sunshine’s in my all time top ten. But it’s kind of like saying, “Hey, did ya hear? Martin Scorsese’s directing Winnie the Pooh for Lucasfilm.” Wha???
Seth Rogen, Michel Gondry and The Green Hornet is one hell of a bizarre threesome, like… well, I’ll let you come up with your own strange example – just please include a monkey with a spatula bent on world domination. Sometimes these sorts of mash-ups can produce gold, let’s hope this is one of those times. When comedians take a chance and put it on the line, I’ve gotta stand in their corner. The original score by magical musical madman Danny Elfman can only help. I’m enjoying this trailer, but for me, is the glass half full or half empty for this film? I’ll just cross my fingers and call it half a glass for now. Good luck, Seth Rogen – I’m hoping you pull this off.