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Old 06-08-2010, 05:14 PM
Nicholas Stoller's Get Him to the Greek

Here's the link to the published version of the review in my column at The Richmond Examiner:

Get Him to the Greek (2010)

Nicholas Stoller's "Get Him to the Greek" is not exactly built off of an original character. How many times before have we seen alcohol, drugs, and promiscuous behavior get in the way of a celebrity's career? Luckily, this is not the only focus of the film, or there would simply be nothing new here to see. This is supplemented by a story involving what seems like a very simple mission, but what actually turns out to be more complicated than it appears.

Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) works for a record label where he has come up with an idea in which famous rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) will give a tenth anniversary concert at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. The owner of the label, Sergio Roma (Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs) gives Aaron the mission of escorting Aldous from London to New York for a guest spot on "The Today Show" and then to L.A. for the concert.

Aaron figures this will be an easy task, but soon finds out that it's a little more than he bargained for. Aldous is a complete mess after his last album bombed on the charts and his hobbies now include drug use and excessive amounts of alcohol. He constantly delays as Aaron tries to fulfill his task of getting him to the Greek Theater on time. Meanwhile, they begin to learn more about each other as they begin to bond on their trip.

This is a film that starts off with an interesting premise, mainly because there are so many different things that can go wrong when simply trying to get someone like Aldous Snow from Point A to Point B. However, the film quickly gets stuck in a repetitive rut that has the same kind of events happening over and over again for most of the first and second acts.

As soon as Aaron tries to get Aldous to go to the airport so that they can catch their flight on time, Aldous delays by going to a party and drinking to excess. Then they end up getting to where they’re going anyway. When Aldous needs to be somewhere else, again being strongly urged by Aaron, he decides to divert their plans by going to visit his father in Las Vegas....where he again drinks and gets high.

This rut becomes dull somewhat quickly, but at least it doesn't stay in it. The last half-hour or so completely changes the tone from the raunchy comedy it was attempting to be to a more serious drama. Before Aaron had left on his mission, he had had an argument with his girlfriend, Daphne (Elisabeth Moss), about moving to Seattle. During the trip, Aldous tries to reconcile with his ex-wife, Jackie Q (Rose Byrne), after she dumped him when his album failed. This all felt so out of place after the tone it had tried to set throughout most of the film.

There will obviously be those who like the kind of humor involved in a movie like this. There are constant sex jokes as well as just all-around obscenity. There's even a long spot that involves Aaron sticking drugs in a spot that would be most uncomfortable. If you find something like that funny, then you'll probably enjoy the level of humor this film has to offer. As for me, I think I laughed maybe 2-3 times total, leaving a very low laugh/joke ratio.

The film is saved from complete oblivion by the performances from the two leads: Jonah Hill and Russell Brand. Hill has such an innocence to his character throughout the film that he makes it believable, while Brand pulls off the drug-abusive rock star character quite well. Some of their scenes together, such as where they are discussing Aldous's failed album, are some of the best scenes in the film.

The first half of the film could have been helped by taking it in different directions, ones that the audience can't see coming from a mile away. Perhaps something out of the characters' control could have prevented them from moving forward. The strange shift in tone from the second half of the film would have been better served if it had been split up and placed throughout the entire story. What we end up with here is a tonally confused film with jokes that mostly miss and some good performances from the leads. 2.5/4 stars.
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