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As was a clear case in point with the Saturday Night Live bomb MacGruber, trying to stretch recessed story elements into a feature length film can be a disaster in guise. In Get Him to the Greek, eccentric rocker Aldous Snow, who had a scene-stealing supporting role in 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, is now the star and thanks to Russell Brands’ hilarious turn and a great supporting cast this is a rare spin-off that works.
For a relatively new director, Nicholas Stoller has had a great start to his career (he also directed Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and similar Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland) is a hugely promising Judd Apatow apprentice. Get Him to the Greek does not have the warmth in the script that was in “Marshall” with Jason Segel absent, but Stoller’s is sufficiently hilarious. Like other films that could be dubbed of the “Apatow brand,” this is not a single-minded comedy, but one that features far more depth than that of the average Hollywood project.
A perfect foil to Brand is Jonah Hill, who seems to be in every other comedy these days. Oddly, unlike the Aldous Snow character, Hill returns but in a different role as Aaron Green. He is no longer the creepy waiter he was in “Marshall” but a young record label intern who is equal parts clueless and admirer of the famed rocker. Green’s task as set out by his boss Sergio Roma (Sean “P. Diddy” Combs in a hilarious extended cameo) is to get Snow to the Greek Theatre for an anniversary show to inflate his slumping career. Snow is not the most malleable person as we soon learn and the job turns into a drug-blurred road-trip of sorts.
There is a little too much gross-out humor in ”Greek.” It drifts from raunchy to juvenile a few too many times. There is also an abundance of drunken antics and drug-based humor, but thankfully the leads are able to elevate the material beyond the norm. Overall, the laughs come frequently and some will drive you to tears. This is the type of film that requires repeat viewing as you will certainly miss sizable portions as you bend over clutching your now ripped abs. As aforementioned, there is an inherent endearing quality to the film and the characters never descend into the realm of unlikable.
Brand’s exuberance is infectious in Get Him to the Greek, and an extended role from its original inception does not outstay its welcome. Kristin Bell (a.k.a Sarah Marshall) does make an extremely brief cameo appearance and is a nice little tie in to this film’s daddy. The adorable Rose Byrne also appears as Snow’s flame and compliments her male counterparts to delightful and memorable effect. Throw in a plethora of celebrity appearances and Get Him to the Greek is just a fun fun time at the movies.
We can only hope, this movie will now be the benchmark to which spin-offs measure. The approach feels somewhat like a sequel, as it is a revisit to a beloved character but treating it as a standalone feature, astonishingly, makes it feel like a standalone feature. Bluntly put, Get Him to the Greek is one of the funniest movies of the year.
Get Him to the Greek
Directed by Nicholas Stoller
Written by Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, Rose Byrne, Sean Combs
Other Player Affinity Reviews
Steven thought: “If the cliché “sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll” has seemed obscured or irrelevant the last thirty years, it is no longer. Get Him to the Greek serves this unholy trinity buffet style. About every scene involves at minimum the consumption of alcohol. Producer/director Nicholas Stoller, understanding his film is both literally and figuratively laced with substance abuse, doesn’t treat it like a physical gag that needs building up to like every other film with a clichéd “drug scene.” Comedian Russell Brand actually plays Snow with unexpected dignity in this film. Here’s the potential to just go batty and ridiculous, but Brand tastefully realizes that this is part of Snow’s make up; he doesn’t need to externalize it with raucous and stumbling behavior. He’s also given a romance subplot. That sentimental aspect weakens “Greek” in terms of its lasting impression. Stoller admirably hopes to touch the heart as well as the funny bone by keeping these threads going throughout the adventure, but it keeps “Greek” from building into the comedic hurricane its “less plot, more fun” premise suggests (and many fans were likely expecting). As outrageous as the film behaves at times, however, it will manage to bring just about anyone with a raunchy sense of humor aboard for its shameless and sinful ride.” Rating: 6/10
Dinah Thought: “Get Him to the Greek makes a typical Hollywood goof, placing all the best scenes of a movie in the last 30 minutes. This might be the standard in the action or adventure genres, but for a comedy it is a damning flaw. Watching the movie is a labor in boredom, wanting and waiting to laugh or see the tender plot progress. Jonah Hill and Russell Brand play their parts well, Hill as the affable and awkward junior executive in charge of bringing the failing and boundless rock star to play a comeback concert. Despite strong performances from supporting members P. Diddy and Rose Byrne, it was still hard to care about this dud given the plodding pace. Summer 2010 remains robbed of a hit comedy. Rating: 4/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 5.6/10