Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The New Goofy Action Movie Guy

The trailer for 'The Green Hornet' has hit the web and its tone is taking a lot of people by surprise, even offending some. But I think they've hit the nail on the head. TGH is going for fun (almost silly) action with a goofy and likable hero, and Seth Rogen delivers. It's the right approach with the right lead. Look at those dirty boots. What kind of crimefighter gets dirty boots? The goofy kind played by a natural funny guy like Rogen.

If TGH had gone for a Bourne or Mission: Impossible feel with Rogen in the lead it would have made the same mistake 'Knight and Day' does trying to utilize a so very serious Tom Cruise in a comedic action farce. The lead simply wouldn't be acceptable and the resulting movie couldn't be taken seriously.

I like the clips I've seen from 'K&D', but the movie trips over its own feet because Cruise is just so out of place in this type material. He just isn't a comedian. He tries -- my does he try -- but the effort is obvious and it's hard not to roll your eyes.

Rogen's Britt Reid has a natural charm -- he could get huge yucks just by walking into a room. It's easy to root for him. Cruise's Roy Miller, on the other hand, pulls out all the stops to get you to like him, but it's hard to watch. You can't root for a guy that tries that hard.

TGH and K&D are the same product but one features a natural comedic talent looking to expand his career, while the other has a fish out of water striving mightily to be self-deprecating. The goofy action in 'The Green Hornet' is fun to watch and Rogen is endearing, while the same stuff in 'Knight and Day' is just weird and off-putting because Cruise can't sell it. Cruise doing schtick is just painful.

I'd go so far as to propose that, if K&D had a different lead, say Matt Damon making fun of Bourne, it would be a lot more fun to watch.

Cruise is trying to broaden his scope, and he would probably be great doing subtle comedy, but it might be better to let Les Grossman handle the over-the-top assignments. If he wants to diversify Cruise should try ensemble drama; 'Magnolia' was excellent. A string of smaller dramas would be a good thing, especially considering he is getting older.

There are rumblings 'The Green Hornet' is clanky and will not appeal to a broad fan base. I'll disagree. Looks like a winner and should be the start of a fun franchise.

'Knight and Day', on the other hand, doesn't look so good.

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