- Rated R
- Buy the BD
All photos © Universal Pictures
Reviewed by David Medsker
et Him to the Greek” is better than you’re probably expecting it to be, but not as good as it could have been. It’s still funny, often breathtakingly so, but there is too much comedic talent in this movie to produce an ending so flat. It is possible to have a character hit rock bottom without the movie following suit.
Set in what appears to be a flash-sideways from the time line in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” Russell Brand is Aldous Snow, a glamorous British rock star in the middle of a career freefall. His girlfriend, the Lily Allen-ish Jackie Q (Rose Byrne), tells him on national television that he’s boring now that he’s sober, so Aldous proceeds to go on a gigantic bender. Meanwhile, at Aldous’ US label home Pinnacle Records, junior exec and big time Aldous fan Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) pitches the idea of resurrecting Aldous’ career to his cutthroat boss Sergio (a never-better Sean Combs) by planning a 10-year anniversary show of Aldous’ mega-selling live album. Sergio loves the idea, and tells Aaron he has 72 hours to get the overly coddled Aldous from his home in England to the Greek Theater in Los Angeles in time for the show. Chaos, not to mention vomiting and rape, ensue.
Along with a fair share of wonky bits, if we’re being honest. The comedy is supposed to be grounded by Aaron’s relationship with his med school sweetheart Daphne (Elisabeth Moss from "Mad Men"), but it serves more as a distraction than as a source of heart. Even worse, they take their relationship to ridiculous heights (more like depths, really) in the third act and suck all the fun out of the room in the process. The aim of the script is clear from the beginning: teach Aaron the perils of hero worship while keeping his eye on the prize (Daphne). As for Aldous, well, it’s hard to care whether he learns any lessons, as long as he quits fucking up Aaron’s life.
Still, when this movie is on, it is funnier than anything released this year. The music videos by Aldous and Jackie Q (is there an accent that Rose Byrne can’t do?) are spot-on, if incredibly raunchy, and no one does ‘clueless rock star’ better than Brand. Hill shows more range here than he has before, but this is Combs’ movie from the moment he appears onscreen. When his role is downplayed in favor of Daphne in the third act, the movie screeches to a halt.
As spinoff movies go, it’s a miracle that “Get Him to the Greek” works as often as it does. Aldous was entertaining as a supporting character in “Sarah Marshall,” but as the lead, it was only a matter of time before he revealed his true self: a thirsty mannequin with a libido. And that’s fine, provided they take that moment to give Aaron and Daphne’s relationship some much-needed emotional weight. Instead, writer/director Nicholas Stoller pushes the ‘awkward’ button – again – and forces Aaron and Daphne to do things they would never, ever do. One wonders if there is a Jason Segel-penned version of this script in Universal’s vault that was rejected for not being “wacky” enough. If so, whoops.
Unrated Collector's Edition Blu-Ray Review:
The two-disc Blu-ray set for "Get Him to the Greek" is so stuffed with bonus features that it's nearly two movies for the price of one. Disc One features an unrated version of the movie (it's only three minutes longer than the theatrical cut), an audio commentary by the director, Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Rose Byrne and a couple others, and three in-depth featurettes, including one on the making of the movie and one on the music written for the movie (that one's a can't miss). The bonus disc has scores of deleted scenes, along with some alternate and extended scenes. There is an alternate opening as well as an alternate ending, a gag reel, a great line-o-rama bit where the actors riff a line until they find the best one, and several additional scenes from the show-within-the-movie, Sarah Marshall's "Blind Medicine." For fans of the movie, this is a no-brainer purchase.