Get Him To The Greek

Get Him To The Greek


Reviewed by: Andrew Grant

When did comedies cease being funny? A difficult question to answer, but Nicholas Stoller’s latest film (a spin-off, if you can believe it, of his Forgetting Sarah Marshall) is the latest in a seemingly endless line of Judd Apatow-inspired bromances that feels the need to balance its madcap hi-jinks with weak third-act attempts at poignancy that are often more laughable than the actual jokes.

The setup, in which a responsible, neurotic, average Joe must get an irresponsible, uncontrollable larger-than-life figure from place A to place B is a tried-and-true framework that can yield comedy gold. But not here. Jonah Hill (who is in danger of becoming as one-note a performer as Michael Cera) plays Aaron Green, a junior executive at a record company that’s fallen on hard times. Megalomaniac CEO Sergio Roma (Sean Combs) turns to his sycophantic staff in hopes of finding a new cash cow, but music-loving Aaron suggests a ten-year anniversary show for Aldous Snow (Russell Brand, reprising his role from Marshall) whose successful concert at the titular Greek (legendary Los Angeles amphitheatre) is the stuff of legend. It’s an ideal opportunity for Snow as well, whose career has been in the toilet after the total failure of his “political” record, African Child, which drove the long-sober rock star back to excesses of drink of drugs.

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Naturally, Aaron is charged with flying to London and making sure the talent arrives in Los Angeles in time for the gig, with a stopover in New York City for a live TV appearance. It’s an opportunity wasted in the hands of Stoller, who merely crafts a series of set pieces that offer the occasional guffaw, but more often than not wind up with something being inserted into Aaron’s bottom. Though our two leads are like chalk and cheese, they bond over their respective “woman troubles”, which grinds the film down even further.

As is the case with too many comedies in the age of Apatow, the female characters all seem like afterthoughts, and the film’s sexual politics are achingly conservative. Aaron’s live-in girlfriend Daphne (Elizabeth Moss) is a doctor who wants the couple to trade Los Angeles for domestic bliss in Seattle, and who shows remarkable understanding even though he is nightly bedding down with Aldous’ many groupies, one of whom sodomises him with a giant rubber device. For all his sexual swagger in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Aldous here is a mummy’s boy who wants nothing more than to be reunited with his longtime ex, the mother of his child. It’s the manchild syndrome yet again, where naughty boys learn to work through a Madonna-whore complex.

As a screenwriter, Stoller is even less inspired than he is as a director, and there’s a noticeable laziness to the dialogue. Many of the jokes arrive DOA, while others can be seen coming from a mile away. Aldous dismissing Metallica’s Lars Ulrich with a “why don’t you go sue Napster” retort might have been mildly chuckle-worthy ten years ago, but is now painfully awkward. And how many laughs can really be expected from repeated episodes of Aaron vomiting on himself?

Hollywood must think they’ve found something in Russell Brand, for he’s lined up for no fewer than five major upcoming projects, including the lead in a remake of Arthur (shudder). However, as Greek makes it all too evident, he’s not leading man material. He’s a personality at best, and his performance as Snow differs little from his public appearances in interviews, on award shows etc. In fact, the only remotely interesting performance comes from Sean “P Diddy” Combs, who breathes life into his thinly-written character, and tries to have some fun with it. Yet even that can’t salvage this rapidly sinking ship.

By the time the third act rolls around and we’ve ventured into Almost Famous territory, with its mock-earnest speeches about how fame is loneliness and family is everything, we wish nothing more than to see the title realised so we can get the hell out of the cinema.

Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2010
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A young music executive must take a problematic rock star from London to Los Angeles in time for a career-dependent concert.
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Director: Nicholas Stoller

Writer: Nicholas Stoller, Jason Segel

Starring: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Sean Combs, Elizabeth Moss

Year: 2010

Runtime: 109 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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Forgetting Sarah Marshall