Originally Reviewed – 6/17/2010
Most viewers and critics agree that Judd Apatow knows how to write and produce a movie. So, on paper, taking the most entertaining character from the very funny Forgetting Sarah Marshall and giving him his own 109 minutes makes a whole lot of sense. Even if the film’s a stinker, one could make some serious coin from a sentimental sequel to a great movie. For me, the question was does the hard living, hard rocking and hard…well…you know character of Alda Snow have enough in the tank to warrant his own film. The answer is an emphatically enthusiastic, “Yeeaaah, why not”.
The story is as bare bones as it gets. All around nice guy Aaron Green, played by one of my least favorite people in Hollywood, Jonah Hill, is tasked by his record exec boss (Sean “Puffy” Combs) to escort his musical idol Alda Snow to his 10th anniversary concert at the legendary Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Along the way, Alda gets Aaron in all sorts of trouble involving hookers, booze and something called a “Jeffery”. The result is a madcap, drug induced, trans-continental romp that leaves the audience almost as exhausted as young Aaron is at the film’s conclusion. And you know what? It’s all pretty damn funny.
The star of the show is Russell Brand, who does his British rock star shtick for the whole film and rarely disappoints. My biggest concern going into the film was how Brand was going to handle the eventual “quiet, introspective” moments, but Brand does a fine job in showing the character’s other side. While these scenes are mostly disposable, it does give the film a bit of an arc and a depth, which was appreciated. The other side of the coin is Jonah Hill and Brand’s straight man and while I’m not the biggest Hill fan (fine, I can’t stand him), he plays the best part in his career as the nice guy caught up in the Alda Snow tornado. For the first time, Hill actually relaxes the brash, foul mouthed persona he’s known for and the result is his best performance yet. Rose Byrne and the surprisingly funny Sean Combs round out a well utilized supporting cast.
Kudos also has to be given to writer / director Nicholas Stoller for crafting a very funny yet accessible comedy that satisfies on a number of levels. Unlike this year’s Hot Tub Time Machine, which stuck in the gross out jokes out of necessity, Greek has it’s moments of cringe but they all work within the context of the story, much like they did in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Fans of the aforementioned flick will also get some of the inside jokes that are peppered throughout the movie.
All in all, Get Him To Greek is a wild ride through the dark side of celebrity and the coldness of the modern day music industry while remaining a fun comedy for everybody else. While it’s not quite a comedy with a heart, it does provide enough back story and substance to both Brand and Hill’s characters, giving the film a small emotional backing to go with all the debauchery. Although it doesn’t quite reach my standard for modern day comedy, The Hangover, it’s certainly one of the funniest films of the year and is worth seeing.
Score – 70%