Get Him to the Greek
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Written by: Nicholas Stoller & Jason Segel (screenplay)
Starring: Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, Elisabeth Moss, and Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs
A spin-off is a notoriously bad idea when you’re looking for quality. You get fast cash opening weekend, and then you sink like the Titanic when people realize what you’re selling is crap. Thankfully, this is not the case with Get Him to the Greek.
What’s great about this movie is not just its perfectly paired comic dream duo (Russell Brand and Jonah Hill), but that it only references Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the “original,” in one obligatory millisecond. Other than that, it’s allowed to stand on its own comic footing with the funniest character from Sarah Marshall, cocky coke addict Aldous Snow.
Brand became a star partially because of this then-supporting role. He combined his expert comedic delivery with great material very, very well. Here he gets to shine even brighter, pulling out all the stops and even finding a soul in a modern comedy character. I wouldn’t go so far as to say brilliant, but it’s a nice surprise.
Jonah Hill is a reliably excellent comedic actor, and he pairs up with Brand extremely well here. Hill perfectly creates losers and perverts with hearts of gold, but this one takes the cake. He also shares extraordinary chemistry with Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss. Seeing Moss cut loose and do this well in a comedy may leave fans of the show with their jaws on the floor.
The only big mistake in the casting of this movie was P. Diddy. Horrendous delivery; you can almost see the dollar signs in his eyes as he cashes in on this cameo. At least when all the other celebrities guest star in this, they are kind of funny.
What’s really important in this movie is how it views the music industry. Diddy’s failure is felt so much because he plays such a central role in it. As a fight breaks out in a posh Las Vegas club with furry walls, Diddy proclaims that “This is the music industry!” as the house goes up in flames. A thought-provoking moment in a modern Hollywood comedy? I’ll take it, even with the bad rapper-turned-actor.
The plot focuses mostly on Aaron Green (Hill) trying to get Snow to a huge reunion concert in L.A. It’s a road movie, even though they do almost no driving. All the lessons, misunderstandings and hilarity that ensue are typical of that sub-genre. The film could’ve done without all of the third act fake sadness, but if you want the laughs in a mainstream comedy, I guess they feel they need to make you cry a little as well.
Get Him to the Greek works best when it lets its characters fly away with the punchline-packed screenplay and the physical gags. Director/co-writer Nicholas Stoller knows this, and he gives the film a common, sleek visual presentation. Nothing fancy, merely a visual vessel to showcase the humor.
Furry walls, adrenaline shots, and anal heroin smuggling all constitute the physical gags, and they are adequately hilarious. When combined with the acting and dialogue, it can really satisfy your comedy sweet tooth. What lies beneath the surface is an uproarious send-up of the dying record industry, which puts up on a pedestal a man who declares that when you do drugs, it’s the only problem you have to worry about in life and all the others go away.
The songs all have hilariously mocking lyrics and subject matter, from the unknowingly racist opener “African Child,” to the closer about aforementioned furry walls. You get everything you could want in music industry satire, delivered with a loving smile that isn’t quite tongue-in-cheek.
The music industry would feel the punch, if it hadn’t been beaten to a pulp and diagnosed with cancer already. The classic rock soundtrack shows where music’s been, and the cameo of Pink making out with the drug-ridden fictional rocker sadly shows where it’s going. Don’t let it deter you, you’ll laugh all the way to the funeral.