Green Book


Green Book  1/2

We shouldn’t be surprised that Peter Farrelly—one half of the co-directing duo that gave us There’s Something About Mary—might think that a white, uneducated guy from the Bronx using a bucket of KFC to teach an erudite negro to become more black would be hilarious. Of course, based on the reactions in the theater, the lily-white audience in Green Book thought this scene was the most hilarious thing they’d seen since Cameron Diaz borrowed some of Ben Stiller’s “hair gel.” Needless to say, even though this frequently charming road trip through the Jim Crow South circa 1962 is “based on a true story,” subtlety is not the strong suit of this crowd-pleasing inverse of Driving Miss Daisy. Oscar nominee Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises, Captain Fantastic) plays Tony “Lip” Vallelonga, an Italian-American
bouncer at the Copacabana, who meets Jamaican native Don Shirley, a world-class pianist played by recent Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (
Moonlight). “Doc” (as Tony dubs him) is about to embark on a two-month concert tour that will take him from Manhattan all the way past the Mason-Dixon Line. This requires a capable driver to safely navigate potentially racist areas of the Deep South, utilizing the Negro Motorist Green Book to steer them toward friendly roads and lodging. If only such a helpful text existed to guide Farrelly down the bumpy path of his first foray into solo directing, past the easy yuks that simultaneously enliven and cheapen this inspirational tale. (At Boston Common, Coolidge Corner, Fenway, Somerville and in the suburbs.)

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