Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Premise: A music label intern (Jonah Hill) is charged with escorting an indulgent rock and roll star (Russell Brand) from England to Los Angeles to perform at a concert. With the clock ticking, the intern struggles to make flights and appointments as the rock star’s self destructive lifestyle slows both of them down.
What Works: In Get Him to the Greek, Russell Brand reprises his role as Aldous Snow, which he originated in a supporting part in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The best material in this new film occurs early on as it recounts the character’s career and Brand makes him a one-man Spinal Tap. Had the film followed in that direction, the result could have been comedy gold. Sadly, it doesn’t.
What Doesn’t: Rather than satirizing contemporary media and celebrity, Get Him to the Greek follows a familiar rock star formula, relying on tired drug humor and limp sexual content for laughs that aren’t there. In the wake of comedies like Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Bruno and dramatic rock films like Sid and Nancy, Walk the Line, and Almost Famous, films about showbiz have to try harder and reach further to be relevant but Get Him to the Greek doesn’t do that. A lot of the film consists of crude humor taking place in various VIP rooms at assorted clubs and hotels, but aside from the setting nothing distinguishes the gags in Get Him to the Greek from similar fare in superior and funnier films like The Hangover or American Pie. What’s worse is the film’s halfhearted attempt to inject a pair of dramatic subplots, one between Jonah Hill’s character and his girlfriend (Elisabeth Moss) and another between Russell Brand’s rock star character and his similarly dysfunctional ex-wife (Rose Byrne). Aside from being poorly written and more than a little sexist, the subplots give the impression that they have been tagged on to shamelessly pander to the heartstrings of the audience in a lame attempt to build some of that funny but sweet pathos appeal that Judd Apatow and his crew specialize in. But it doesn’t work this time and Get Him to the Greek is neither funny nor sweet, just stupid.
Bottom Line: Get Him to the Greek is a bad film. But it’s made worse by the squandered opportunity to make a really funny movie out of Russell Brand’s rock star character.
Episode: #294 (June 27, 2010)