By Don Simpson | June 3, 2010
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writer: Nicholas Stoller (characters: Jason Segel)
Starring: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Elisabeth Moss, Rose Byrne, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Miles O’Brien
Writer-director Nicholas Stoller’s Get Him to the Greek is not quite a sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which was also directed by Stoller. The only truly reprised character from that 2008 film is Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), the sex-crazed and drug-addled rock star.
It is many years later and Aldous is recovering from a devastating break-up with his ex-wife, the raunchy singer, Jackie Q (Rose Byrne), and his horrendous flop of a last record, African Child (dubbed “the worst thing for Africa since apartheid”).
Drowning his sorrows in a steady diet of booze and drugs, Aldous is in London wallowing in depression when Aaron Green (Jonah Hill, who appeared in Forgetting Sarah Marshall as a different character), a low-level record company grunt, arrives to escort him to L.A.’s Greek Theater for a 10th-anniversary concert in celebration of his famous live album. Most importantly, Aaron needs to get Aldous to the Greek Theater sober yet happy. Aaron’s boss, Sergio (Sean “P. Diddy” Combs), knows that Aaron’s assignment is practically impossible, but that’s the whole point of Get Him to the Greek. Aaron approaches his assignment with unabashed naivety; he merely wants to please both Sergio and Aldous. Aldous, on the other hand, is a self-destructive egomaniacal jerk that cares more about getting (and staying) wasted than the future of his career. Aaron and Aldous are just another cinematic odd couple…cue the zaniness.
It takes a long time for Get Him to the Greek to get going. Throughout the first act Stoller spends way too much time trying to establish Aaron’s goodness and Aldous’ badness. But Stoller eventually finds his comedic stride once he gets Aaron to Aldous’ London flat, which marks the commencement of…well…anything and everything goes. Fueled by drug and alcohol induced tomfoolery, the onscreen events are equally absurd and slapstick; the jokes however are limited solely to drug and sex references (and vomiting). Then the final act is where Stoller loses my interest with all of the morally explicit monologues and Aldous’ extensive whining. Despite Aldous’ fame and fortune, we learn that deep down inside he’s really lonely and depressed. Woe is me!
Get Him to the Greek is chocked full of gratuitous moralizing on the part of Stoller about the downside of fame and fortune as well as the importance of maturity, sobriety, and monogamy. For over an hour we are persuaded to laugh at Aldous’ nastiness and his negative influences on Aaron, but then the tables are turned and we are shown the light (the errors of Aldous’ ways)…and everyone is saved from their sins. Amen!
For another (slightly more favorable) Smells Like Screen Spirit perspective on Get Him to the Greek, check out JP Chapman’s review; and if you want to see a much better Jonah Hill performance, do yourself a favor and check out Cyrus.