Mark Reviews Movies

GET HIM TO THE GREEK

3 Stars (out of 4)

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Cast: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Sean Combs, Elisabeth Moss, Rose Byrne, Colm Meaney

MPAA Rating: R (for strong sexual content and drug use throughout, and pervasive language)

Running Time: 1:49

Release Date: 6/4/10


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Review by Mark Dujsik | June 3, 2010

The old adage says to never meet your hero. Get Him to the Greek raises the ante on that lesson. By the time the film is over, the rock star here takes pictures of his fan puking, coerces him into stick a bag of heroin where the sun doesn't shine, and tries to have sex with his girlfriend.

The rocker is Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), the too-cool object of jealousy in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The years have not treated Aldous well. His love of seven years has left him, his drug addiction has kicked back in, and his most recent single "African Child" has been dubbed the worst thing to happen to Africa since apartheid.

His downfall is shown in a whirlwind montage of talk shows and tabloids that opens the film. It is the first of Get Him to the Greek's many funny sequences, which revel in the dizzying daze of infamy.

After hitting rock bottom (although rock bottom for a rock star is still seen as relatively carefree), Aldous lives in a London loft with his mother. Meanwhile, Aaron (Jonah Hill), a young record company intern, is realizing his dream job might be in jeopardy. His boss, the aptly named Sergio Roma (Sean Combs), has presented the hard facts: the music industry is dying. He'll be fine, though. After all, he owns 21 cockatoos, and he dares any of his employees to say they even have one. No one dares question the logic of bird-owning as proof of financial stability.

Aaron's girlfriend Daphne (Elisabeth Moss) has the opportunity to fulfill her residency at a hospital in Seattle. Aaron doesn't want to move, so she suggests they take a break. He assumes they have broken up.

The answer to all their problems comes in the form of a ten year anniversary of a famous concert Aldous performed at the Greek Theatre. Sergio orders Aaron to get Aldous from London to L.A. in 72 hours for the show, and Aaron is more than happy to accommodate the opportunity to hang out with one of his idols.

Aldous is a functioning wreck, certain the concert is scheduled two months from the time Aaron arrives. Sergio prepped Aaron on how to talk to a star, especially when asked about a creative and financial flop, but there is no way to prepare for Aldous' rampant need to go out and party when he's supposed to be boarding a flight for New York to appear on a national show the next morning.

The film is a series of comic escapades, each one a bit crazier than the last. Most of them result in Aaron vomiting, once on himself, and they all possess a reckless spirit of abandon.

Trying to keep Aldous just sober enough for his live network television appearance, Aaron drinks all the whiskey in the limo and quickly smokes his charges joint then runs around asking anyone he can find if they know the lyrics to Aldous' disastrous anti-war-in-someplace song, as the rocker has forgotten them.

They drink one last drink for the night, which just happens to be absinthe, and then there's Aaron's late-night run through Las Vegas to score heroin for Aldous, shown in quick cuts of worsening circumstances.

The Vegas trip is to reunite with Aldous' father (Colm Meaney), bass player for a Rat Pack tribute group, who thinks he has creative credit for his son's work simply because he provided the sperm necessary for his conception. That episode brings Sergio along for the ride, playing a mind game on all involved, although the rules seem to only be known to him. Not even getting hit by a car can stop the boss from chasing after his rogue intern and the rock star.

Then there's Aldous' ex Jackie Q (Rose Byrne), a pop singer with vaguely disguised suggestive lyrics (and a strange need to explain exactly what she means at the very end of the song, even though it's quite clear). He wants her back, or at least he thinks he does. She sets him straight in a surprisingly insightful scene, pointing out that while he was sober he was doing yoga five hours a day. An addict will find anything to fill an addiction. It has left Aldous a lonely man, and writer/director Nicholas Stoller isn't afraid to let that honesty come out of his party-loving fool.

Get Him to the Greek is all held together by some truly delirious performances (especially a soulfully dimwitted Brand and an insanely conniving Combs) and a straight shot to the gut of the soullessness of the music industry. The madness has method, even if it's written in vomit.

Copyright 2010 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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