June 21, 2010

Movie Review: Get Him to the Greek

gethimtothegreek1_largeIn 2008 there was this little movie called Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It told the story of a guy who gets dumped and in order to get over it he heads to Hawaii on a solo vacation. Unfortunately, his ex also happens to be there with her new boyfriend, a rock star named Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). The movie was really funny and touching and was one of my favorite movies of the year. It proved to be a hit. There were also some rumblings about a sequel that would focus on the Aldous Snow character. Frankly, I didn't believe it. I would love it, but I did not believe it.

I continued not believing it, well I didn't give it much thought, but I guess they are in the same ballpark. Anyway, a few months back the trailer first appeared, and I was immediately sold. It was in the same world but it looked like a vastly different type of film. This is a good thing, the last thing we want is a copy of what came before.


The film begins with a whirlwind look at Aldous Snow's career, his band, his relationship with fellow star Jackie Q (Rose Byrne), his solo career, substance abuse issues, the works compressed into a few minutes. We then shift gears and catch up Aaron Green, a low-level employee at a major record label run by a man named Sergio (Sean Combs). Sergio is looking for new ways to bring in revenue in this rapidly changing industry. Aaron has the idea of having an anniversary concert celebrating a big live album from years earlier, Aldous Snow at the Greek Theater. Sergio loves the idea and sends Aaron to the UK to gather him up and bring back for the show.

That sums up the plot of the film. Sounds simple enough, right? You're right, it is. Fortunately, it is filled up with lots of big laughs, raunchy laughs, goofy laughs, and other sorts of laughs. Yes, this is a very funny film. However, it is not all about the laughs. Buried in there, in between the laughs is a big heart. It explores relationships, loss, longing, and the hurt that goes along with them. Those heavy themes and ideas are buried in there and kind of sneak up on you in between the comic beats.


Get Him to the Greek is structured similar to a road movie with our central duo careening wildly from stop to stop getting into all manner of trouble as guys are wont to do when they are not under direct supervision. One is a man child with impulse control issues and the other is getting his first real taste of adulthood, thrust into the moment he is not prepared for and is forced to find a way to deal lest he get swept away in the current. For a good portion of the film he does get swept up in that current, with letting up at moments to allow them some perspective before getting swept up again.

It is very interesting watching Aldous and Aaron as they explore their similar relationship situations and slowly come to an understanding, a sort of middle ground. Aldous is figuring out what is missing in his life, the mistakes of his past and while he retains the rock star, he finds relationship maturity. As for Aaron, he and his girlfriend have reached a period where they are either going to the next level or they are going to crumble.


There is something else that came to mind was the idea of the rock star and how it has changed over the years. Russell Brand's Aldous Snow is a rock star in the classic sense, well the 80's sense. You know, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. He acts in an outrageous fashion, has a gigantic personality, a big ego, issues with substance abuse, the whole nine yards. The fans go crazy for him. I was thinking of how the rock star has been dying and the throngs of fans that get all the attention keep getting younger and younger. I yearn for the days of the rock star. I mean, my music is still out there to be found, but it would be great to have some rock stars again. Maybe not or maybe I am just looking in the wrong places. Whatever the case, Russell Brand is a comedic rock star.

Jonah Hill does a good job playing his opposite. The guy is funny, he has this nervous way about him that works. He character is very grounded, but also a bit naive and when he gets out on his own he quickly becomes overwhelmed. It is fun watching him try to deal an come to grips with what is going on and his attempts to regain control. Just remember to keep petting the furry wall.

Bottomline. Funny movie. One of the funniest of the year. It proved to be considerably deeper than I expected it to be and a good deal stranger. We also witnessed P. Diddy being very, very funny. This is a strong companion piece to the first film, different, but they go well as a set of films dealing with people and relationships in the guise of raunchy comedy.

Highly Recommended.



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