Although his name has a muted presence on the film’s trailers and posters, French filmmaker Michel Gondry (‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’) has done a stellar job of putting his wacky auteurial stamp on a comedy which is only semi-coherent but still very funny and impeccably fashioned. The film’s focus on bumbling, makeshift heroes, plus Gondry’s bold choreography and playful use of depth and scale (the 3D element is used particularly well), ally this to the director’s previous studio outing, ‘Be Kind Rewind’ (2008), although this lacks the thematic richness of that film. Some might choose to see Kato as Gondry himself – a hip, innovative craftsman selling his tricksy wares to a benign corporate overseer.
On the downside, the film foolishly assumes that the charming, fratboy chemistry between Rogen and Chou will disguise a tissue-thin story. On the upside, Gondry and writing team Rogen and Evan Goldberg have fun inverting superhero convention and not in the same pleased-with-itself way as ‘Kick-Ass’. Here, being subversive and self-reflexive doesn’t mean comedy swearing or violence: it means staging a prolonged fist-fight in front of a giant Carlos Santana poster.