starring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Tom Wilkinson
screenplay by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
directed by Michel Gondry
by Walter Chaw Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz) asks chauffer Kato (Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou) out on a date in Michel Gondry's excrescent The Green Hornet, and then, once on that date, acts surprised when Kato makes a pass at her whilst tickling the ivories. It's the only thing of mild interest in a film that's otherwise the obvious front-runner for a few worst-of-2011 lists--a fate it'll probably avoid only because no one will remember the benighted thing an hour or two after screening it. Give The Green Hornet this, though: it's the first mainstream American film to even flirt with the idea of Yellow/White miscegenation since maybe the 18-year-old Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Rob Cohen's biopic about Chou's hero and the true antecedent to the Kato role. It's funny to me that men from one of the most populated places on the planet have, in the American cinema, been reduced to hilarious, impotent sidekicks or wise old men who know kung fu--or is there some kind of Little Richard image-castration going on here to protect delicate Caucasian egos from bedroom Yellow Peril? No, more likely the instinct that makes it funny to cast someone like Jackie Chan as Chris Tucker's bitch in the United States is the same one that fuels Chou's eventual rescue in this piece of shit by the titular lummox, played by Seth Rogen (make that rescues--the first coming when The Green Hornet tosses poor, dumb Kato a lobster-shaped inflatable to save his drowning ass). It's the same one that casts Mexicans as chulo drug-dealers hanging out on the East Side and poor Christoph Waltz, Oscar still warm, as an insecure crime lord given to monologues and bemoaning his mid-life crisis. The Green Hornet is bad stand-up, all improvisation and flop sweat you get to endure for over two full, agonizing, distended hours.