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Rapid Review: Get Him to the Greek

June 7, 2010

Get Him to the Greek is a “psuedo” sequel – one of many movies that has taken advantage of a breakout star and made that character the focus of  comedic shenanigans in a new film.

Greek is directed and written by Nicholas Stoller, whose only previous directing credit was the amusing and successful Forgetting Sarah Marshall.   Forgetting Sarah Marshall was written by comedic actor Jason Segel, and was an irreverent and often hilarious look at one man’s recovery from heartbreak.  The breakout star of that film was British comedian Russell Brand, whose portrayal of newly-sober rocker Aldous Snow stole the film.

Hill and Brand being adorably awkward. Again.

Greek‘s premise is simple.  Aldous Snow, the type of manic character that never got the message that the age of the decadent and constantly inebriated rock star has come and long since gone,  has fallen off of the wagon.   Aldous hasn’t played a gig in three years – not since his last album, with the cringe-inducing title of African Child, crashed and burned with the public and critics alike .  Aldous does not do politically correct – it would cramp his style. 

 It is the job of hapless and stoic everyman Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) to get Snow to his big anniversary concert in L.A. in time to save both Green’s job and the world as we know it.  .  Well, maybe not the world, but as is the case in all films such as this one, the frenetic pace and series of  epic pratfalls would have you believe that Snow’s arrival is of dire and earth-shattering importance.  Without this urgency, there’s no premise.

The key to Greek’s success lies in the performances of both the lead and supporting cast.  I get the feeling that in real life, Russell Brand is about as toxic and exhausting to be around as Aldous Snow.  Yet, he gives Snow a believable touch of compassion and wit that saves the character from being a grating stereotype.   After all, it would be difficult to imagine Aaron going to the lengths he does in the movie without caring a little bit about this raging lunatic.

Snow and Aaron running. They do a lot of that.

Jonah Hill is the master of the deadpan awkward delivery, and as the second banana he works well with what’s he’s got.   Supporting performances by Rose Byrne as Snow’s equally outrageous ex-girlfriend and by Sean Combs as Aaron’s smooth and calculating boss (impressively named Sergio Roma, which sounds either like the hero of a romance novel or a brand of low-end pasta sauce)  help propel Greek out of the standard “chase and race to the final scene” comedy niche.  The penultimate sequence in Las Vegas, which involves wall decor of dubious taste and a lady of the evening named Destiny, is one of the best comedic scenes in recent memory.

All in all, Greek is an enjoyable summer movie.  It’s light and airy and forgettable the minute you walk out of the theater, but that’s the job of a summer comedy.  It amuses and charms without beating you over the head with its hipness and obvious physical comedy.  Stoller does an admirable job of making both Snow and Green characters you care about, and that is the icing on the proverbial cake.

Snow's stage show. He's just that awesomely awful.

So, to use the obvious play on words, go ahead and get to the Greek.  Why not spend a stuffy, hot day watching other people act ridiculous?  Everyone has the right to enjoy a good laugh at the expense of a fictional character now and then.  Enjoy.

Overall Grade: B

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