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'Hornet' more for high schoolers

"The Green Hornet" (PG-13): This superhero adaptation has moments of high hilarity, but runs on too long, and loses its specialness in endless generic car chases, despite the iconic, weaponized classic Chrysler Imperial the Green Hornet drives. Even so, high-schoolers may find the movie highly entertaining.

Star Seth Rogen ("Zack and Miri Make a Porno," R, 2008; "Knocked Up," R, 2007) co-wrote the script, so it isn't surprising that he's given the story a bad-boy edge, making the film too full of sexual innuendo and profanity for many middle-schoolers. Rogen's style is wedded to the visual/spiritual inventiveness of director Michel Gondry ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," R, 2004), and the marriage isn't made in heaven. The repartee is straight out of Rogen's earlier films, while the action and chases are sort of post-modern. The "Green Hornet" has been done as a 1930s radio serial, a 1940 film serial, in comic books, and as a 1966-67 TV series that featured legendary martial arts star Bruce Lee as Green Hornet's sidekick Kato. In this new 3-D version, Britt Reid (Rogen) inherits his chilly father's (Tom Wilkinson) newspaper after Dad dies suddenly. Britt meets a former employee of his father's, Kato (Jay Chou), who makes a mean cappuccino and is an engineering genius. Britt, though still a blowhard ne'er-do-well, decides to form a duo with Kato as masked crimestoppers, the Green Hornet and his (far more gifted) sidekick. They run afoul of a local crime boss (Christoph Waltz) and the body count rises. Cameron Diaz is fun as Britt's strong-minded secretary, Lenore Case, whom he can't seem to seduce.

The profanity-peppered dialogue (midrange, not ultra strong), the portrayal of boozy nights out, and the implication that Rogen's character has serial one-night stands all make this PG-13 more for high schoolers. The mayhem in the film has a comic tilt, but can also be quite intense, with point-blank shootings and some head-banging fights.


"The Dilemma" (PG-13): Teens who appreciate sagas of adults embroiled in comic crises may gravitate toward this farce about an immature man struggling with a moral question. But teens who see "The Dilemma" will also notice that the movie bounces off different themes like a billiard ball, and veers wildly in tone, going from irreverent to preachy, sometimes within a single scene. At first it's intriguing, like a genuine artistic choice, but then it just gets sloppy. Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Kevin James) look like Frick and Frack -- the former a tall, lackadaisical pudding, the latter a short, beefy bundle of nerves. Ronny witnesses Nick's wife Geneva (Winona Ryder) having a tryst with a hunky lover (Channing Tatum). He agonizes over whether to tell Nick, and starts acting so bizarrely he throws himself and everyone else for a loop. The scenes between Vaughn and James as polar opposite buds are the high points. The film just flails at everything else.

A theme about marital infidelity, steamy kissing scenes, and a non-explicit sexual situation with implied nudity all earn the PG-13. Characters use crude sexual slang and occasional mild profanity. The movie also features a couple of fistfights, and some drinking.

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