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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.41%
Worth A Look51.85%
Average: 25.93%
Pretty Bad: 11.11%
Total Crap: 3.7%

3 reviews, 9 user ratings

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Get Him to the Greek
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by Erik Childress

"The Snow Doesn't Fall"
4 stars

In any other romantic comedy, Aldous Snow would have been the villain. One of the great things about Forgetting Sarah Marshall was the way writer/star Jason Segal created an equality of flaws within the central triangle of that film. Snow was the vain rock star with a set list alternating sexualized and socially conscious lyrics - managing to make both highly inappropriate - and the other guy being stepped out upon unbeknownst to our relationship-challenged protagonist. The unique element about Snow, beyond his casual ignorance about society's norms, was that underneath it all he was actually a humanist that loved all people. Sure he had his quirks and hurt a few feelings, but Russell Brand helped mold a character that could have been another Sacha Baron Cohen creation into something far more interesting and real. That film's director, Nicholas Stoller, has picked up where Segal left off with the character and given Brand his own starring vehicle. Risky considering that Brand's humor has not been tested beyond the "perhaps best in short bursts" arena and trailers have played up the buffoon angle a bit too strongly. The pair remain true to the character though and have crafted not just one of the better cinematic portraits of a rock star in recent years but, unquestionably, the funniest film released so far in 2010.

Aldous (Brand) may have been a bit of a poonhound, but against the middle part of the rock n' roll mantra had actually been sober for several years. That all changes this time around after a disasterous album called African Child gets reviews that would make Spinal Tap's Shark Sandwich seem like The White Album. On top of that his pop star girlfriend, Jackie Q (a hysterical comic turn by Damages' Rose Byrne), with whom he shares a son, goes off the wagon and dumps him. Back in the States, record producer Sergio Roma (P. Diddy) is lamenting the crisis of the industry and needs something to stimulate sales. Aaron Green (Jonah Hill), a fan of Snow and his band Infant Sorrow, suggests an anniversary concert of their best-selling live album at the Greek theater. While initially dismissive, Sergio comes around to it and enlists Aaron to escort Snow from London and keep him out of any trouble that would derail the event.

Things naturally don't go smoothly from the get-go as Snow keeps delaying their flight for a Today Show appearance so they can party. Aaron is going through the added misery of a recent break-up with his doctor ladyfriend, Daphne (Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss) and he does not need much of a push to accept Aldous' version of therapy. Snow's love/hate relationship with his babysitter is continually tested with searches for drugs, sticking to their schedule and, above all, honesty about his music and a side trip to Vegas reuniting him with the father (Colm Meaney) who likes taking credit for his boy's success.

It all sounds like the typical biopic mumbo-jumbo about wounded rock stars trying to find themselves, but to include this with a level of serious respect in the middle of a, first and foremost, riotous comedy is actually quite admirable. The Judd Apatow production express has already gone full satire on the musical biopic with the underappreciated Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Get Him To The Greek does not play things as broadly when it comes to the traditional cliches. There are absolute excesses in search of laughs under the shadow of the lifestyle's atmosphere, but there is a clear sincerity when it comes to Aldous' relationships without reaching for cloying sympathy.

Get Him To The Greek might appear to be going for easy laughs, serving up Russell Brand in the ads like some spoiled ne'er-do-well as if they are helping pre-sell him for reportedly stepping into the shoes of Dudley Moore in the Arthur remake. Stoller avoids the easy trap of turning the road trip into a tabloid feast of indiscretions. Like the scorpion crossing the lake, Snow is behaving according to the nature of his own rules and Stoller sets up scenarios that don't conform to the obvious payoffs. The excursion to a Vegas party where bad drugs and bad blood collide is a spectacularly directed set piece that could show the makers of The Hangover a thing or two as could an impromptu threesome and Aaron's disasterous attempt at buying drugs.

That latter moment is one of the chinks in Aldous' armor when we finally get a look at the desperation behind his fall from grace. Snow may be one to spread his love around but he seeks approval whether it be from his parents, his fans or his ex. In reality it may be hard to distinguish the comic from the character, but in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Greek there is a shockingly instantaneous believability to his pain when things turn against him. Russell Brand has made a couple other supporting turns in-between as an unorthodox teacher at an all-girls school in St. Trinian's and as Adam Sandler's pal in Bedtime Stories and he is proving himself to be a true scene-stealer. It will be interesting to watch how his leading man status will grow from here and hopefully not weary audiences with the same notes over and over. Speaking of which, fans of Sarah Marshall may be curious to see Jonah Hill not playing the Hawaiian garçon fan with a gay crush. Hill is a perfect example of not falling into old comfort zones (as you can also see in this year's Cyrus) and never has us questioning whether these guys had ever run into each other before. (The film also probably wisely never comments about it.) Hill does not just sit by idly to play the requisite straight man though. With naivete and sarcasm going hand-in-hand, Hill becomes the scene-stealer in a film that is already sharing the wealth with Brand, Byrne, some great cameos and, of all people, P. Diddy, who gets blessed with some of the best lines and individual moments.

It won't be surprising to see some circles refer to Get Him To The Greek as the funnier, more tolerable, and mercifully shorter Funny People - without the cancer. (Not by me, as I am firmly in the Funny People camp of supporters.) Instead of Sandler's spoiled movie star with Rogen as the personal assistant and fan it is a spoiled rock star and a fan/babysitter. And no cancer. The aura of rock 'n' roll, even by those enraptured by its power, has an inanity and an occasional drape of pretension around it. Think of some of the rockers who burned bright enough to create a cult around their brief time in the spotlight and then the level of importance grafted upon what they left behind in movies based on their antics. It is enough to almost make you turn against them. Without aspiring to be a full-blown parody or satire, Get Him To The Greek is very much the anti-musical biopic, unapologetic for Snow's mirror image of the world and a film that appreciates the connection to music while acknowledging the childish sexuality of its lyrics. Walk the Line notwithstanding, this is the closest a film has come to encapsulating the best and worst parts of the rock star's world since Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous. There is still quite a bridge between a masterpiece and a really terrific comedy, but faint praise is not in the cards for Get Him To The Greek unless people insist on calling it (like so many other films), "this year's Hangover." This is a film you will actually want to remember in the morning. And any film you can say that about so far in 2010 is welcome relief indeed.

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originally posted: 06/04/10 15:00:00
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User Comments

6/19/11 RLan Brand was great, Coombs was great, Hill is the reason the rating isn't higher. 4 stars
4/17/11 Hugh G Rection Not even worth the $1 Red Box rental - sucked hard. 1 stars
3/14/11 millersxing Get Charlie Sheen for the sequel 3 stars
11/27/10 othree 2 Main leads funny as hell, suprisingly funny, Jonah Hill was way better then imagined! 5 stars
9/30/10 M Pft.... 2 stars
6/13/10 Ming A very funny movie..I laugh so loud 4 stars
6/06/10 g, so effin funny 5 stars
6/05/10 Ronald Holst To me Is was Campy way to campy 2 stars
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  04-Jun-2010 (R)
  DVD: 28-Sep-2010


  DVD: 28-Sep-2010

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