Saturday, June 12, 2010

Get Him to the Greek

"It kind of reminded me of a dark, gothic, Neil Diamond."

A meek record company intern is tasked with corralling an outrageous British rock star and delivering him to a show that could single-handedly make both of their careers.

By now we all know what you do when you assume... But all the same I have to admit some assumptions that I made. When I first found out about Get Him to the Greek and realized that the rock star in question was none other than Aldous Snow, the fictional mega music star from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I made my first assumption: That Jason Segel wrote this movie as well. I've made no secret of my love of Segel's work, so under this assumption- my excitement piqued. Though Segel co-produced, I soon discovered that it was in fact written by Nicholas Stoller, who directed both movies. It was here, in my fan-boy-esque disappointment, that I made my second assumption: That because it was not written by Segel, it wouldn't be nearly as funny.

And that children, is why we don't assume. Though it can't come through on the same amount of poignant moments, I don't think Get Him to the Greek was ever supposed to. Stoller's goal is obvious and simple: pipe as much unadulterated Aldous Snow into the audiences face as possible, and give him a straight man side-kick to balance out the diet. This is exactly what he does- and he does it well. "Over the top" seems like a a misdiagnosis here. I would say instead that this movie was made under the assertion that there is no top.

This spiritual sequel follows in the footsteps of it's predecessor, lampooning the entertainment industry and celebrity culture. Not only does it knowingly jab at the ridiculous lives we encourage our celebrities to lead, but also how out of hand the pop music industry as grown. At one point we hear the "album version" of Infant Sorrow's track 'Let's Get Fucked', and then the radio version: 'Let's Have Fun'. These are the sort of jokes that work the best for me- and Get Him to the Greek is full of them.

As a straight man, Jonah Hill shows he still works, letting Brand and Elisabeth Moss -and in one scene my beloved Colm Meaney- dominate him, to hilarious result. While this is a chain of impressively strong links, by far the most surprising performance comes from Sean Combs (I'm sorry, I just don't think I can seriously refer to a grown man as 'Diddy'), who manages to turn what one might think is going to be a cameo into a decent (in rapper-turned-actor terms that reads: 'Oscar Worthy') and entertaining performance. The entire movie quickly becomes Jonah Hill's character in front of a firing squad, and as it turns out- all the rifleman are crack shots.

My biggest complaints come in the form of the transitions. While all of the set-pieces are hilarious, the set-ups aren't always that strong. At times you can feel the movie struggle to get to where you know it wants to be. It's kind of like a child sledding- getting back to the top of the hill can be grueling, but the pay off is worth it. The bigger the hill, the better the ride, the worse the set up. And then there's the fact the vomit money-shots still just aren't funny to me. I'm starting to feel like maybe I'm the only one... But neither of these things is enough to ruin the movie, especially since the vomit humor is pretty short-lived.

Get Him to the Greek is not a movie for everyone, this much I know. I think the simplest way to tell whether your in or out would be to think back. If you thought Aldous Snow was a hilarious secondary character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, then this movie could be right up your alley. If even in the background he was still a bit much for you, or just plain wasn't funny, then I can't imagine Russel Brand sans collar and leash is something you should bother spending your money on. As for me, I laughed loud, and I laughed often. With a movie like this I think that has to be enough.

Watcher X says: "That was ridiculous... They did everything right."


Jason Todd said...

Awesome review, I've been looking forward to this movie for a while now I so I'm glad it's finally out. I heard about it back before pre-production and I'm glad the Alduous Snow character lives on, he's like a modern Jack Sparrow haha. Glad it seems to be a good movie.

The Reel Deal said...

Character spin-offs have such a hit-or-miss history, you can never know what you'll be in for! I was definitely glad to see it fly, even though I had my doubts. It didn't quite live up to forgetting Sarah Marshall for me, but not only do I not think it should have (they're completely different movies) but I'm not sure, given my love of that film, that it really could have.
Let me know if you like it when you get a chance to check it out.

Jason Todd said...

I agree there, I'm just glad they continued the Alduous character because he's so outrageous it just seems like they can do so much with that guy. I've been listening to the Infant Sorrow CD the past few days and its so crazy that I love it.