After a lackluster holiday season, two films are in theaters that are worth checking out: The Green Hornet and The Dilemma. Surprisingly still, both have something in common. “But wait,” you’re probably thinking. “One is a remake from an old radio serial turned TV show about a crime fighter and the other is about couples.” Yes, on the surface the two seemingly have little to nothing to do with each other except for their shared release day. So am I trippin’ balls? Nope. At least, not yet.
BRITT AND KATO MAKE A DUI
The Green Hornet has Seth Rogen starring as the lead protagonist, Britt Reid. The son of a newspaper mogul, Britt’s a playboy, albeit a chunky one, who parties harder than Paris Hilton after a six-pack of Red Bull. Young and aimless, Britt’s lavish life is turned upside down when his father passes, leaving the fate of his media empire up in arms.
While not quite the wakeup call, Britt meets Kato, his father’s private mechanic and all-around handyman. Played by Jay Chou -- a far, far, echo of a cry from Bruce Lee who portrayed Kato in the short-lived TV series back in the ’60s, but good in the film nonetheless – Kato and Britt venture out in a modified black Chrysler Imperial (built by Kato) where a chance encounter has the dynamic duo fighting criminals to fend for their lives. Well just the inept Britt’s life, anyway. Kato under duress, unleashes his latent martial arts ability, chin-checking the bandits in a slow-mo Matrix-ish manner.
With a renewed sense of purpose, Britt convinces Kato to go down the path of fighting crime, but with a twist. Instead of acting like superheroes, who are inevitably attacked by criminals, they would go out in the name of justice but portraying themselves as fellow villains. Genius. But how to convey that message? Too bad, they don’t have any connections to a local news organization. Wait. They do. Plot holes complete, Britt tasks Kato to build a bitchin’ attack version of the Chrysler Imperial, known as the Black Beauty (of zero relation to the horse) where antics and hilarity ensue.
The Dilemma, directed by the legendary Ron Howard, is about two besties engaged in B&V Engine Design, a business venture where both males are partners, in a completely platonic way. From the trailer, it would have you believe the movie’s a puke-inducing romantic-comedy about two couples struggling to overcome some sort of misunderstanding. Yuck. But in actuality, it’s a buddy film masked as a chick-flick, which I presume is to make the film date-friendly. Genius.
Nick, played by the portly Kevin James, is married to Geneva (Winona Ryder). Completely in love, their relationship is ideal. Or so we’re lead to begin for the first 15 minutes or so. Ronny, starring Vince Vaughn, is Nick’s best friend since college and, despite being in a relationship with Beth (Jennifer Connelly), is the consummate bachelor. Ronny, under the advisement of Nick, decides to make an honest woman out of Beth. He goes out to check a location to pop the question when he catches Nick’s wife, Geneva, hooking up with another dude. Drama. Antics and hilarity ensue.
But wait, other than the films having two overweight comedic actors, where’s the connection? Here’s where it all comes together. In Nick and Ronny’s business, B&V Engine Design, Nick is not only the meat of the operation but also the brain. He’s an engineer working on an invention to duplicate the roar of a V-8 engine in an electric car -- a technological feat that, if you’ve ever heard a Prius whiz by, silently, is daunting.
So there you have it. One film co-stars an Asian man hopping up a car with weapons and armor to the wazoo, and the other, a white, husky male tweaking an electric car to make it sound louder than a plastic kazoo. And working on cars not only ties the two movies together, tenuously, but if you’re a guy, is something you’re probably into. If automotive isn’t your thing, while you’re waiting for your gonads to drop, the two films are filled with antics and hilarity – a fact now mentioned for the third time – making for a good time.