Review: Get Him To The Greek
To me, Forgetting Sarah Marshall was one of the most surprisingly hilarious comedies of the last few years. Which actually worked to the detriment of my anticipation for Get Him To The Greek, a spinoff film focused on the exploits of that earlier film’s greatest character, androgynous rock legend Aldous Snow. I’m always wary of knockoff flicks trying to capitalize on some happy accident in a previous film where audiences really loved a character or device. They’re almost always lazy and frequently too much of a good thing. And so I went into this with that kind of anxiety, but it took only a 5-minute cut-up of Aldous’ rise and fall at the film’s beginning to get me on board. From that point on, you can see this one has its energy right on point.
Jonah Hill is a very respectable foil as an idealistic young music industry schlub assigned to escort Aldous from London to a concert in L.A. But of course, this is Russell Brand’s show. Everyone who knows of Brand has an opinion on him, and this film isn’t likely to change that one way or the other. Personally, I feel that if I were to spend a half-room in a room with the guy, I’d probably end up strangling him to death. But in this role, essentially playing himself for all the ludicrousness and risqué experience that entails, he’s comedy gold. Always unpredictable and blithely dispensing cutting insults with amazingly slick ease, he epitomizes everything ridiculous about the classic rock persona. He oozes a striking combination of anarchic impulsiveness and a sharp self-awareness, conscious of the flaws of his persona and amping them up to escape his own reflection. His character keeps the film rolling at a turbo-charged pace, seamlessly flowing from one crazy set-piece to the next while taking some time to explore just what it is that makes this impossible cyclone of charisma the way he is. The journey is straight-forward and devoid of distracting plot asides, which gives the two main characters time to interact and develop, and the film feels brisk is a way that all oddball comedies must in order to succeed.
While Brand is in top form, the real surprise of the film is Sean Combs, a.k.a. P. Diddy (whom I still call Puff Daddy). The hip-hop star turned music mogul is fully aware of all the ticks that mark his Mercurial industry. He uses this to craft a believably and properly exaggerated (though not by much) record label exec who keeps on Jonah Hill to get Aldous to the Greek Theater on time. His comedic timing is excellent, and he rises above the usual “hey, we put this guy in our movie!” novelty of cameos to become a full character with his own command of the comedic proceedings. A scene with him and Aldous at a Las Vegas suite party is one of the funniest scenes of the year thus far.
If you consider Kick-Ass a comedy, as I do, then it retains its crown as the best comedy of 2010 to this point. But Get Him To The Greek comes in at a close second. Anybody who couldn’t stop laughing at the Aldous Snow scenes in Forgetting Sarah Marshall should definitely see it.