Review: Get Him To The Greek
Get Him To The Greek
In 2008, Russell Brand was a huge scene stealer in the very good rom-com Forgetting Sarah Marshall. As Aldous Snow he played rock star hypocrisy and charming obliviousness to the hilt and brought the already very funny movie up an extra level. His character was easily the breakout from the film, and there was almost no doubt that he would get his own movie as a result. But Snow is like most breakout characters in a sitcom (think Urkel or The Fonz): he's brilliant in small doses, but that doesn't mean the show should be recalibrated with him as the center. I was nervous from the moment Get Him To The Greek was announced that this would be the case. His character seemed perfect as a supporting player, but moving him to the forefront was a risk from the beginning.

For his part, Brand does everything he can to carry the film. He is still absolutely hilarious and plays Aldous Snow as well as he did the first time around. When the movie works its almost solely because of his efforts, and it really is a comedic achievement. Russell Brand is less an actor than a stand-up comic whose act has been reappropriated into a charcter in movies; he has a very narrow schtick, and he's not departing from it any time soon. That's the sort of thing that should really annoy me, but he plays his role so winningly that I don't care. So long as he continues to be so effortlessly funny, I'm not sure its really a problem that his whole character is a riff on one very good joke.

The rest of the movie, though, is like some kind of nightmare. The story centers around Aaron Greene (Jonah Hill), a young record exec who suggests that his company could make a killing by getting Snow to do a reunion concert at the Greek Theater. He is sent to retrieve Aldous and bring him to the venue in time for the concert. Fortunately there is plenty of time for the two to get into shenanigans, most of which revolve around them taking a lot of drugs and Hill vomiting and getting anally violated a lot. If you're a big fan of vomit-takes of anal rape jokes, you'll probably love Get Him To The Greek. Otherwise, your feelings may be a bit more tepid.

Much will likely by made of P. Diddy's role as the abusive record executive who bullies Hill into doing the insane things he does to move the plot from one set piece to the next, but the performance isn't one that requires any comedic chops to pull off. The character is only so much swearing and screaming, fairly similar to Tom Cruise's turn in Tropic Thunder (which was also very well received for reasons that escape me). Any actor (or even P. Diddy) can scream and swear a lot, but it would have taken someone of considerably more comedic skill to make a set piece involving a drug-induced Oedipal struggle the slice of comedic gold the movie seems to think it has.

Still, I'm hesitant to call Get Him To The Greek a bad movie. It may not be good, but at its worst its affably awful and imminently watchable. I don't regret seeing it, and its the type of movie I would watch again if it was on TV and I was really bored, but its also a movie I will promptly forget until someone reminds me about it. Brand does some great work here, but one character alone cannot possibly hold a movie together, especially not one as tenuously constructed as this, which feels from its opening frames like someone sat down to crank out a movie with Aldous Snow in it, because people like the character and will pay to see more. If you like Aldous Snow enough, there are some good moments throughout. Me, I'll just pop in Forgetting Sarah Marshall again if I ever get nostalgic for the character.

Grade: C- (saved from a lower grade simply by Russell Brand, who could probably make Aldous Snow funny in absolutely any movie, no matter how terrible).
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