CATEGORIES DVDs

This week's major DVD releases provide a quandary for film lovers: There's a comic-book actioner that is short on excitement and a buddy-comedy short on the laughs. Quirky director Michel Gondry teamed with Seth Rogen to create a modern version of 'The Green Hornet' that just doesn't click. Ron Howard teamed with Vince Vaughn and Kevin James for 'The Dilemma,' a male-relationship comedy that shows off Vaughn's inestimable comic charm, but falls down in the laugh department. Read on.

'The Green Hornet'
What It's About: When slacker Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) inherits a media empire after his father mysteriously dies, he decides to do something meaningful with his life: fight crime. Striking an unlikely friendship with one of his father's more industrious and inventive employees, Kato (Jay Chou), Reid decides that the best way to fight fire is with fire, and the duo become criminals themselves -- protecting the law by breaking it, so to speak. With Kato's gadgets -- especially The Black Beauty, an indestructible car equal parts firepower and horsepower -- The Green Hornet hits the street as a modern-day crimefighter. His arch-enemy: L.A. underworld kingpin Benjamin Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz), whose single-minded goal is to exterminate the Green Hornet.

It's Kinda Like: 'Batman' meets 'The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!'

What We Say: This update of the 1930s and 40s radio serial teamed an idiosyncratic director, Michel Gondry (who got his start in commercials and music videos and is known for such quirky outings as 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,' his short films and the 'Interior Design' segment of 2008's Tokyo!), with comic Seth Rogen (best known for 'Knocked Up' and 'Zack and Miri Make a Porno' and for his comedy writing) in the hopes that the pairing would somehow be greater than the sum of its parts. And while some of the parts work -- technology freaks will be awed by the gadgets and there's some spectacular action sequences -- on a whole the film is a comic book fish out of water. It's neither campy enough nor sophisticated enough to make us forgive its sloppiness and its uninvolving story line and characters.

• Extras: Commentary, a host of behind-the-scenes featurettes, gag reel and deleted scenes. There's also a 3D version for those of you with 3D-capable TVs.
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'The Dilemma'

What It's About: Should he or shouldn't he: That's the dilemma at the heart of the buddy comedy 'The Dilemma.' Vince Vaughn plays a confirmed bachelor who discovers that his best friend and business partner's (Kevin James) wife is seeing another man. Not sure what to do with that knowledge, Vaughn makes it his mission to find out exactly what's going on, and his amateur investigation dissolves into comic mayhem. It's one thing to tell his best bro that his wife is cheating on him; it's another to give him the bad news while they're preparing the biggest presentation of their careers, one that will put their company on the map. Does he or doesn't he?

It's Kinda Like: 'Couples Retreat' meets 'Swingers'

What the Critics Say: This Ron Howard comedy was slammed by the critics and disappointed audiences. Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News said that "The real dilemma in the sadly unfunny 'The Dilemma' is that several different movies are going on in director Ron Howard's first nondrama in 11 years." Stephanie Merry of the Washington Post quipped that "While Vaughn proves he's still got the fast-talking bravado that makes him so bewilderingly watchable, neither his quick wit nor his chemistry with Kevin James can transform 'The Dilemma' into the gold standard of buddy comedies." There were fans, however: A.O. Scott of the New York Times said "The movie is not all that deep, but it does go further than many of its kind in acknowledging the hurt and difficulty that are the deep wellsprings of any comedy worthy of the name."

• Extras: Alternate ending, deleted scenes, gag reel, a few featurettes, and a tongue-in-cheek "Tour Chicago" featurette with Vaughn taking viewers to some of the city's locations used in the film.
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Other New May 3 DVD Releases:

'Bob Dylan Revealed': When Bob Dylan turns 70 this month, his iconic career will have spanned five decades. Through exclusive insider interviews, and never-before-seen photos and footage spanning Dylan's 50-year career, this fascinating documentary offers an intimate biography of who Bob Dylan was, and who he is today.
'From Prada to Nada': Camilla Belle, Alexa Vega brighten up this by-the-book comedy -- a Latina spin on Jane Austen's 'Sense and Sensibility' -- about two spoiled sisters, left penniless after their father's sudden death, who are forced to move in with their estranged aunt in East Los Angeles.


'Mao's Last Dancer': Based on Li Cunxin's bestselling autobiography of the same name, 'Mao's Last Dancer' is the fascinating and epic tale of Li Cunxin, a peasant boy from rural China who beats impossible odds to become a world-renowned ballet dancer.
'A Somewhat Gentle Man': This Norwegian black comedy stars Stellan Skarsgard as a rehabilitated murderer who comes home after 12 years in prison to a world he no longer knows. Though his old boss wants him to rejoin his old colleagues, he's a somewhat gentle man -- as far as gangsters go -- and he just wants to be left alone.
'Waiting for Forever': A quirky street performer with a free spirit and a heart of pure gold reunites with his childhood sweetheart, an actress with a complicated past. Stars Rachel Bilson, Tom Sturridge, Richard Jenkins, Blythe Danner, Nikki Blonsky and Jaime King.


Check out other new May 3 DVD releases at OnVideo.