Thursday, May 17, 2012

Movie Review: Get Him to the Greek

Get Him to the Greek (2010)
Rating:  2.5/5
Viewing:  initial, On Demand

Basic plot:    British rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) has a failing career after the release of his song "African Child," his girlfriend breaks up with him, and he starts using drugs and alcohol again...heavily.  Meanwhile, Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) works for a record company run by Sergio Roma (Sean Combs), who is looking for the next big idea.  Aaron, being a huge fan of Aldous, suggest that they get him to do a concert at the Greek Theater in L.A. for a 10th anniversary show from when Aldous played there at the top of his career.  So, Aaron must go to England to retrieve Aldous and bring him back to L.A. to 3 days.  Along the way, Aldous struggles with his demons (failed relationship, excessive drug use, etc.), Aaron questions the state of his own life (having recently broken up with his girlfriend as well), and Aaron and Aldous develop a friendship over the hijinks and hurdles along the way.  "Hilarity" ensues.

Rather, hilarity allegedly ensues.  Get Him to the Greek is a sort of indirect sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in that Russell Brand plays the same character.  While Jonah Hill was in Forgetting Sarah Marshall as well, he does not play the same character in Get Him to the Greek.  I'm a fan of Russell Brand, and I thought that he was hilarious in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  So I was actually looking forward to Get Him to the Greek, hoping that it would maintain Russell's brand (pardon the wordplay) of comedy throughout, regardless of whether or not he was in the scene.  But sadly, that was not the case.  Aside from some rare moments involving other characters (mostly those involving Rose Byrne, playing the role of Aldous's girlfriend Jackie Q, who I think was supposed to be a lampoon at Katy Perry, who ended up having a real life relationship with Brand), the only times that I really laughed were during Brand's scenes.  So, while Russell Brand was once again hilarious, the movie itself wasn't really all that funny.

I typically haven't liked Jonah Hill's character in too many movies, but I think that usually has to do with the type of character he usually plays.  I like it when his character is more of an actual person, rather than the over the top stereotype of the Chris Farley-esque character.  I liked his character in Get Him to the Greek more than I have liked him in other movies, but he was still a bit of a tool (especially to his girlfriend).  Like I said above, even though Jonah Hill was in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he did not play the same character.  I remember seeing an interview with the director around the time that Get Him to the Greek came out in which he said that they picked Hill because of the chemistry that he and Brand had in their scenes in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  And it was a pretty great chemistry.  Forgetting Sarah Marshall is actually one of the few movies that I actually liked Hill's character.  But if that chemistry is why they chose to put Hill and Brand together again, why would they mess with the formula and change Hill's character?  Or, if they were going to change Hill's character, then why keep Brand's character the same?  But, this is only a minor gripe.  Brand and Hill still had pretty good chemistry.  I just think that it could have been even better if they had kept Hill as the same character from Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

My biggest problem with Get Him to the Greek is that it seems to suffer from what I call the Dane Cook effect.  That is, vulgarity, profanity, etc. is heavily used and is supposed to be funny.  But, just because something is vulgar, profane, offensive, etc., that does not make it funny.  Think, for example, of comedians like Louis C. K., Brian Posehn, Patton Oswalt, Daniel Tosh, or Bo Burnham.  I think that each of those comedians are pretty funny/hilarious, but they are all certainly very offensive/profane at times.  The profanity/offensiveness is certainly a part of their comedy.  But when I talk about them to people, I describe them as being very funny, but offensive.  Now compare that to comedians like Dane Cook.  In my opinion, he is just loud, profane, and offensive, but not all that funny.  But, for some reason, people still think that because he is being offensive, he must be funny.  (On a side note, don't think that I am bashing Dane Cook.  I actually think that he has been pretty funny in the roles that he has played in movies.  And I think that he has the potential to be a very funny comedian.  But, because he keeps getting reinforced for the type of stand-up that he does, he keeps doing it without challenging himself to create better material).  Anywho, back to the movie...many of the scenes rely very heavily on profanity as the source of humor, but it just isn't all that funny.  It's just swearing.

Overall, I thought Get Him to the Greek was ok.  Russell Brand made me laugh enough, and I cared enough about his character.  Actually, his character was really the only one that I cared about.  Aside from Brand, the rest of the movie was "meh."  If other people were watching it, I would stick around.  But I probably wouldn't watch it again on my own.  I watched it On Demand, so I didn't have access to any of the extras.  If the extras include a good/funny commentary, it might make the movie more watchable.  If I ever get around to watching the extras (it is still in my Netflix queue, but at the bottom of the queue, and would be one of the ones I delete if I need to make room for other films), I will let you know if they add any quality to the movie.

Recommendation:  somewhere between rent and pass, depending on your personal preference.  Russell Brand delivered the laughs and the emotion, and was the only thing that made this movie enjoyable enough to watch.  So, if you are a big fan of Brand and want to see everything that he has done, then go ahead and rent (queue)'ll enjoy his performance (just don't expect much from the rest of the movie).  But if you are just watching it for Brand, then why not just watch his stand-up special (which is on Netflix instant).  If you are wanting to see Brand and Hill paired up, pass on Get Him to the Greek and just rewatch Forgetting Sarah Marshall (it is, by far, a much funnier movie overall).  Also, Get Him to the Greek contains some nudity, and lots of swearing.  So if you are offended by either of those, you will definitely want to probably won't find the humor funny enough to make up for the offense. 


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