Get Him to the Greek
(Nicholas Stoller, 2010, USA)
It is a rarity in modern cinema that supporting characters are celebrated so fervently as Russell Brand’s portrayal of manically charismatic rock star Aldous Snow is in his latest acting venture. Sure, The Joker was a prominent fixture in The Dark Knight and Harry Potter wouldn’t be the wizard he is without Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, but none of these have warranted their own film much like Brand has here, and what a peculiar project it turned out to be.
Posing as a semi-sequel to the slightly enjoyable 2008 comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek reteams Grays-born Russell Brand with tubby funny man Jonah Hill, who goes from playing an oddball Snow enthusiast who works as a hotel employee in Hawaii, to a Los Angeles record company intern, who is also a great Snow admirer. Yes, it is another case of Hollywood intentionally toying with the audience’s memory, but the idea did initially sound appealing due to the return of eternally busy producer Judd Apatow and Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller. It all sounded promising, well on paper that is.
The film sees Hill play lowly record company intern Aaron Green who, after coming up with the idea of staging a tenth anniversary concert for deteriorating rock star Aldous Snow, is charged with the challenging task of reining him from London to the Greek theatre in Los Angeles, in the space of seventy two hours. Obviously, things don’t go to plan and as the drinking gets heavier and the escapades become wilder, Green’s relationship with his distant girlfriend exacerbates whilst Snow falls further off the wagon. With a solid yet contrived plot, it comes as a small surprise that Greek is a pretty dreadful movie which combines sloppy filmmaking, misguided editing and an undeniably messy tone.
As you probably would have guessed, being an Apatow by-product, the film is filled with the customary levels of smut, bad language and sex, which are fine but eventually overused as Stoller indulges in far too many montages for one film to handle. His film can never decide which genre it wants to be; predominantly (and what the trailer promotes) it is a straight-up comedy, and that would have worked if there wasn’t the addition of some truly out of place scenes which are borderline schmaltz. Green’s relationship woes are drearily half-baked and Snow’s re-acquaintance with his estranged father is uninvolving and false. In fact the roles of his parents should have been left out entirely as they are tedious excursions and drag the film down several paces, especially during one segment taking place in Las Vegas which stretches the formula a little too far. The film slows down far too often and there are many scenes which leave you wondering whether you should be laughing or taking it seriously, thus belonging to a more dramatical film than this one. At a standard runtime of 109 minutes, the film drags when it should be energetic and entertaining, two things it isn’t.
Performances are okay but nothing out of the ordinary although Byrne offers perhaps the standout performance of Snow’s crude, ditzy ex-girlfriend Jackie Q (who also manages to pull off a convincing common English accent). Hill is on usually peppy form while Brand is okay but his ability to carry out a lead role wanes as the film progresses and he isn’t as striking as he used to be (although he wears some great costumes), maybe his on-screen novelty has worn off? There is also unfortunately minimal chemistry between the two male leads, Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Comb’s record company manager gets increasingly louder (and annoying) and Mad Men’s Moss is miscast and oddly wooden.
Despite some great cameo appearances and the occasional laugh, Get Him To The Greek falls way short of expectations but will no doubt please the masses that will certainly flock to see the latest madcap jaunts of Aldous Snow.
Get Him To The Greek, 2010. [Film] Directed by Nicholas Stoller, USA: Universal Pictures.
The Dark Knight, 2008. [Film] Directed by Christopher Nolan, USA: Warner. Bros Pictures.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall, 2008. [Film] Directed by Nicholas Stoller, USA: Apatow Productions.