Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 2011. Columbia Pictures, Original Film, K/O Camera Toys. Screenplay by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, based on the radio series by George W. Trendle. Cinematography by John Schwartzman. Produced by Neal H. Moritz. Music by James Newton Howard. Production Design by Owen Paterson. Costume Design by Kym Barrett. Film Editing by Michael Tronick.
Seth Rogen attempts a different kind of superhero movie by injecting his loveable-loser brand of humour into the action genre, but with minimal results. Between his unintelligent script that trades mainly in blockheaded clichés, and the absent direction by Michel Gondry, the film is a tidy and bland tale of, what else, a misguided rich kid who is inspired to take to the streets and fight crime. After his unkind newspaper tycoon father (Tom Wilkinson) is killed by an allergy to a bee sting, Rogen meets a member of his household staff (Jay Chou) who turns out to be more than just good at making a terrific cup of coffee. Chou actually has serious fighting skills and impressive abilities to invent gadgets, but this is Hollywood and he is Asian, so he does not get to be the star of the movie when there’s a slightly funny white guy who we believe can bring in more audience members (which, ultimately, he did not). Following an accidental run-in with street thugs that goes well thanks to his assistant’s skills, Rogen goes from being a wasteful heir who spends money and parties hard to taking on the titular persona, using his role as the new head of his father’s media empire to counterbalance his alter-ego by pretending to also be trying to expose his real identity to the public. There’s also a badass villain (Christoph Waltz) and even a spirited lass (Cameron Diaz), but the whole thing is flavourless and, despite the fact that Rogen finds himself hilarious for two hours, it’s never funny or diverting.