Title: Get Him to the Greek
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, Rose Byrne, Sean Combs, Elisabeth Moss, Colm Meaney
We’re not in Hawaii anymore. Get Him to the Greek may be a Forgetting Sarah Marshall spinoff, but this is a different movie entirely. Whereas the original was the tales of a lovesick man’s effort to shed his sorrows, Get Him to the Greek is one in which the main character opts to embrace his vices, making for a much wilder ride. The film still retains the spirit of the first, but we’re in Aldous Snow’s (Russell Brand) world now and there are no singing vampire puppets here, only an unruly rock star with the uncanny ability to drink and smoke his way into our hearts.
Aldous has no problem in the dating department after breaking up with actress Sarah Marshall (Bell), but sadly his music career is suffering. He and pop star Jackie Q (Rose Byrne) are a music industry power couple until Aldous releases the catastrophic record, “African Child,” landing him at the bottom of every chart, putting his career in the gutter and destroying his relationship leading Aldous to ditch the sobriety effort and bring on the booze full force. Even in the constant haze of drugs and alcohol, Aldous still has the desire to return to his glory days.
In comes Jonah Hill as Aaron Green who has nothing to do with the Aldous Snow super fan/waiter he plays in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. After a string of unsuccessful clients, Aaron suggests that his boss, big time record executive Sergio Roma (Sean Combs), arrange a 10th anniversary concert at the Greek Theater to pull in some cash. Sergio goes for the idea and Aaron is sent to London to pick up Aldous and get him to the Greek.
Hill wins our sympathy right from the start. He’s passionate about his work, loves his girlfriend (Elisabeth Moss) and overall, seems like a nice guy. Brand is another story. He comes out strong in terms of laughs, but Aldous lacks any redeeming qualities. He’s brash, selfish and out of control. When these two entirely incompatible individuals collide the real fun begins. Even Aaron’s all-business attitude isn’t enough to overpower Aldous’ need to party. The pair’s very first night together is packed with debauchery, forcing Aaron to push their flight to New York back later and later. This is the general theme of the film; Aaron makes a schedule, Aldous’ activities alter it and the two barely make it to their next location.
It seems monotonous, but the hilarity keeps each leg of the trip wholly enjoyable. A particularly amusing moment involves an appearance on The Today Show which is nearly foiled, not by Aldous, but by Aaron who walks in so sky high that he stomps around the studio taking down lights and freaking out other guests all with puke stains on his jacket. Even more memorable is their trip to Vegas, which involves Combs’ character so out of control, you’ll never look at him the same way again – or ever forget what a Jeffrey is.
Hill and Brand easily carry the film and the balance between comedy and endearment makes them well-rounded characters, but their co-stars often steal the spotlight. Combs is on point as Sergio. It probably helps that the guy has some serious experience in the music industry, but his comedic side is a pleasant surprise. Another unlikely comedian? Byrne. She really lets loose as Jackie Q and easily commands every scene she’s in, save for an underdeveloped serious moment towards the end of the film that weakly ties up the situation between Jackie and Aldous.
As for Aaron’s love interest, Moss does a fine job as Daphne and shares a natural chemistry with Hill, but their scenes are among the least memorable, probably just because they’re the tamest. The one exception is a shocking sexual instant that’s funny, but feels a little out of place. The one thing Get Him to the Greek could have done without is the bits about Aldous and his father, Jonathon (Colm Meaney). Except for the fact that Aldous’ desire to reunite with daddy lands him in Vegas, there’s little value to the scenario.
Writer-director Nicholas Stoller assembled a fantastic comedy. There’s slapstick, but not too much, there’s vomit, but not enough to make you want to do so yourself and there’s silliness, but not an overabundance. Top that amalgamation off with a sensible dose of heart and it’s nearly impossible not to enjoy Get Him to the Greek. It’s not quite up to par with its predecessor, but this is one easily worth multiple viewings with the potential to get funnier and funnier each time. Come August, you’ll still be quoting Get Him to the Greek.
By Perri Nemiroff