Let’s just get this out of the way right now. Get Him To the Greek is almost kind of but not really a partial sequel to 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and it picks up with rocker Aldous Snow several years after he left Miss Marshall pouting in Hawaii. While Russell Brand returns as Snow, he’s joined by Jonah Hill in a completely different role than the one he played in Forgetting Sarah Marshall! This complete disregard for continuity will not stand…
Aaron Green (Hill) is a low-level record executive working for a label in need of something big. His bright idea is to have a concert celebrating the ten-year anniversary of rock star Aldous Snow’s (Brand) biggest triumph… his concert at The Greek amphitheater in L.A. Green’s boss, Sergio Roma (Sean Combs), assigns him the unenviable task of meeting Snow in London and escorting him back to L.A. in three days time. Things go spectacularly and hilariously wrong. Things also go in Green’s ass.
Part odd-couple buddy comedy, part adult road trip flick, Get Him To the Greek is My Favorite Year remade for people who like their ass splashed with toilet water while f*cking. It’s sex, drugs, and furry walls. The duo goes from London to L.A. drying up the drug supplies of whole cities along the way… anything within reach is inhaled, imbibed, or injected. Absurdity after absurdity hits our hero and his uncontrollable ward including the funniest Today Show visit since Rick Marshall tackled Matt Lauer, an unsuccessful drug run in Vegas, an ode to Almost Famous‘ pool dive, and a slow-motion riot of post-adrenaline-shot wall-petting.
Brand and Hill both prove they can carry a comedy by constantly and consistently bringing the funny. Brand’s range is obviously limited to, well, playing himself, but he does so brilliantly. Dryly sarcastic and giddily triumphant, he is pure leather-clad, booze-soaked id strutting across the screen. From the opening music video for the song that sinks his career (“African Child”) to convincing Green to smoke, snort, and snog with pure abandon, Brand has enthusiasm and energy to spare. Between this and Cyrus Hill is showing a bit more acting talent here than just the surly comedic dick he’s contributed to flicks like Funny People and Superbad. He doesn’t always hit the mark on the more serious bits, but he manages the straight man pushed to be snarky with definite comedic skill.
The two surprises here though are P. Diddy Combs and Byrne. Combs’ take on the boss from hell begins fairly straight-forward but each subsequent appearance finds him more animated, unpredictable, and gut-busting to watch. Whether espousing the benefits of smoking a “Jeffrey” or dancing a tribute to Carlton from The Fresh Prince he threatens to steal scenes from his more established co-stars and proves himself a worthy comedian. Byrne comes out of left-field too, as nothing on her resume prepares you for the bawdy, raunchy, and hilarious British tart she brings to life onscreen as Snow’s ex, Jackie Q. Like Brand, she gets to sing some witty and dirty little pop numbers including one cheeky little number about her bum hole. Toss in brief but funny cameos from the likes of Kristen Bell, Rick Schroder, Aziz Ansari, and Paul Freaking Krugman, and you have a steady stream of giggles.
The movie’s only real weakness is in an area that it’s predecessor got so effortlessly right. Forgetting Sarah Marshall is equally humorous throughout, but it’s also filled with a fair amount of heart and emotion. You come to love some of the characters, you feel their pain, and you care what happens to them beyond simply the next punchline. That heart isn’t beating nearly as strong here… although it’s not for lack of trying. Stoller and his cast work really hard to make you see the heartbreak, loneliness, and internal struggles facing these characters, but seeing it and believing it are two different things. It looks like a lot of work when it should feel natural and organic, and because of that it isn’t fully believable. The two leads are both fantastically funny guys but neither are experienced enough actors to pull it off completely. Brand comes surprisingly close though at times as he reveals the degree of love he feels for his son and Jackie Q, but it fades quickly with the next vomit scene.
The bottom line on Get Him To the Greek is that it’s a funny goddamn movie. The laughs are constant and as free-flowing as the f-bombs, alcohol, and narcotics, and as pure comedy the movie is a complete success. The laughs run the gamut from visual to verbal, from physical gags to sharp wordplay, and there’s barely a stretch of time longer than a minute or two between them. But you won’t really care about either of these guys beyond what they can do for your funny bone. Nicholas Stoller’s second film isn’t quite the comedic perfection he managed with his debut, but if you don’t laugh your ass off I can only assume it’s because you’re intentionally trying not to dislodge a heroin balloon.
The Upside: Consistently funny throughout; Sean Combs steals many of his scenes; neither Brand nor Hill ever become annoying in their lead roles as they sometimes can in smaller doses; Rose Byrne is damn funny and damn sexy
The Downside: Heart of the film can feel forced and artificial at times; drug prudes should probably avoid this flick; still don’t understand why Hill’s character couldn’t be same guy from Forgetting Sarah Marshall
On the Side: Jonah Hill does not reprise his role of Matthew the over-zealous waiter from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Seriously, what’s the point of that? The dude was into music so it would make sense that a few years later he could be working at a label. Right? Explain this Mr. Stoller!
Click below to watch the Get Him to the Greek trailer: