Notable Cast: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Rose Byrne, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Colm Meeaney
Review: Spin-offs are always tricky because where a character can be hilarious as support in a movie, you have to ask yourself if he can really hold an entire feature together as a main character. You may remember Aldous Snow (Brand) from 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, as the out of control British rock star that Sarah dumps Peter for who turns out to be quite a prick. You may also remember Jonah Hill in that same movie as the waiter Matt, who has a creepy obsession with Aldous Snow. But you can forget him just as quick because he plays a completely different character in Get Him To The Greek (a pet peeve of mine). Director Nicholas Stoller struck gold with Forgetting Sarah Marshall by implementing a generous mix of vulgar humor and sweet romantic humor that actually fit perfectly together. In his second attempt he dives into the life of Aldous Snow and again tries to mix vulgar/obscure humor with the depressing story of a rock star that sincerely hates his life. This, however, did not coincide like I hoped it would. It’s one thing to make a dark comedy about the topic, but it’s another thing to drag a comedy out far to long by adding moments that truly deteriorate the humor in the rest of the film. It’s almost that you’re far to sad to laugh at some of the jokes and they lose appeal. But, for a sophomoric directing effort, Get Him To The Greek promises scattered laughs and decent characters that get bogged down by a heavy-handed story at times. Funny? yes. Could it have been funnier? By far.
The basic plot is that Aaron (Hill) is assigned to escort rocker Aldous Snow (Brand) to America for a 10th anniversary concert by his boss Sergio (Combs) at his record label job. Of course Aaron is a huge fan so taking the job is an easy decision for him. But when he arrives in London, he realizes getting the outlandish rocker across the sea will be a much harder task than he ever imagined. Aldous makes as many stops as possible and always ends up taking them out-of-the-way for some ridiculous reason, pushing Aaron closer and closer to the edge as his job is on the line. And the question stays most of the movie, can Aaron reign in Aldous and get him to the gig on time, and will Aaron be able to look at his idol the same way after the ordeal?
Well, that last question is where the story stutter steps over and over again. Just when Aaron thinks he has gotten through to Snow, Aldous does something even more heinous than before. Be it drugs, sex, selfish personal interest; Aldous does it all. This movie chose to leave in the fact that Aldous will always love his ex-wife and he repeatedly goes back to a dark place when thinking about her, when they easily could have left her out and stuck to more vulgar comedy focusing on Aldous’ love for alcohol and drugs. The movie could have been cut down, some dull/saddening scenes could have been removed, and more focus could have been put on the comedy aspect instead of the fine line balancing comedy and drama. Total commitment to one or the other would have produced a much cleaner film instead of the emotional roller coaster where one minute you were crying laughing and the next you’re trying to figure out why you feel so bummed out.
Speaking of comedy though, this film had one of the greatest characters of the year: Sergio. It’s perfect. Take an actor that seems extremely down to earth in real life and give them a roll that turns them bat shit insane on-screen. It accounts for double the humor and is even fun for the actor to do which can be conveyed through the acting. It’s basically a reverse Gary Busey. You watch him in a movie and your like “Ok, he seems like a cool guy,” and then you see him in real life and you’re like “Whoa, holy shit! Gary Busey is one crazy mofo!” That is Sergio. The pillar of insanity. He is the owner of a record label and has some very interesting business methods. The character is basically P. Diddy saying the most insane things possible and living the most audacious life ever, and every single minute is just as enjoyable as the next. His activities include chasing Aaron and Aldous slow motion down hallways and watching “The Biggest Loser”. He also loves a good Jeffry. If you’ve seen the movie, tell me that wasn’t the funniest scene of the entire film.
In the end, Get Him To The Greek has a total identity crisis and can’t decide which genre to commit to. This wouldn’t be a problem normally except I couldn’t fully enjoy either side because they kept getting in each others way. P. Diddy was the one character that was consistently funny, and you found yourself going through each scene just waiting for the nutso record producer to pop out of nowhere. Well, more hoping than waiting. Hoping that P. Diddy would hilariously interrupt one of the many scenes about Aldous crying to his ex-wife or about how he’s washed up. Cut all that out and replace some of it with even more ridiculous scenes like the party where they smoke Jeffery and I honestly think you have one of the best comedies of the year. Instead, it’s crammed with just too much of the “emotional” story that just didn’t work well and you get the slightly funny drama of the final product. This was another attempt by Stoller to create more than just a comedy, but in the end actually ends up bogging down the actual comedy in the movie. Too long, too sad, and just too much. Get Him To The Greek, it pains me to think of what you could have been.
Final Rating: 6.5 Jefferys out of 10