Friday, June 4, 2010

Hollywood Product: Get Him To The Greek

Posted By on Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge I WANT TO WORK FOR DIDDY: Aaron (Jonah Hill, left) and company boss Sergio (Sean Combs) in "Get Him to the Greek"
  • I WANT TO WORK FOR DIDDY: Aaron (Jonah Hill, left) and company boss Sergio (Sean Combs) in "Get Him to the Greek"

GENRE: Mismatched bromance

THE PITCH: Junior music industry executive Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) has three days to deliver uncontrollable, substance-abusing rockstar Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) from London to New York for a comeback gig at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre, without overdosing on the sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll lifestyle along the way.

THE FACE IS FAMILIAR: If the name Aldous Snow rings a bell, it’s because Brand also played the lead singer for Infant Sorrow in 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Sarah director Nicholas Stoller writes and helms Greek, which features Hill as a new Aldous fan and includes a hilarious reference to Sarah Marshall’s new TV show.

MONEY SHOTS: Greek makes delightful use of Hill’s bristling, globular noggin, whether he’s throwing up, rocking out to the Mars Volta or trying to suppress a sneeze while carrying drugs where the sun doesn’t shine. A drunk, stoned Aaron disrupts “The Today Show” studio while running an errand for Aldous. A quick, hilarious montage shows a Las Vegas drug deal go wrong. Aaron and Aldous stroke a fur-covered wall to keep from suffering a bad trip. Record exec Sergio (Sean “Diddy” Combs) chases Aaron and Aldous like the Terminator.

BEST LINES: “It’s not for me to say if I’m the African white space Christ,” Aldous says on the video shoot of his disastrous, condescending single “African Child (Trapped in Me).” Combs gets many of the film’s funniest lines, such as “We got to thicken our revenue stream. We got to thicken the fuck outta that stream!”

WORST LINES: Conversations about Aldous’ addictive personality and the importance of his music take some weirdly serious turns. They make more sense when you view Aldous as a surrogate for Brand’s own personality problems.

FASHION STATEMENT: On the “African Child” shoot, Aldous wears gold pants and his girlfriend Jackie Q (Rose Byrne) sports elongated, glittery eyelashes. Aldous and Jackie wear matching top hats/mini bowlers at one interview. Perhaps the most memorable outfit is the Beastie Boys T-shirt Aaron wears at an unwanted threesome. When Aaron’s girlfriend Daphne (“Mad Men’s” Elisabeth Moss) goes to bed in a black sleep mask, he deadpans, “I always wanted to have sex with the Lone Ranger slash the Hamburglar.”

SOUNDTRACK HIGHLIGHTS: The film’s “fake” rock songs such as “The Clap,” “Bangers, Beans and Mash” and Jackie Q’s “Ring ’Round” manage to sound legitimately dumber than real rock songs — no mean feat. (Incidentally, the soundtrack’s page treats Aldous as a real celebrity.) Some predictable rock tunes announce the film’s different locations, such as the Clash’s “London Calling,” “Personality Crisis” by the New York Dolls, etc.

PRODUCT PLACEMENT: Greek name checks seemingly every music/entertainment-related TV show, magazine or website, from Rolling Stone to VH1 “Storytellers.” Perhaps the best endorsement comes when Sergio excitedly announces to his family the name of his favorite TV show: “It’s ‘Biggest Loser’ time! It’s ‘Biggest Loser’ time.”

CAMEOS: You’ll catch glimpses of Aldous insulting and/or canoodling with everyone from Kurt Loder to Pink, but probably the most amusing walk-ons come from economist Paul Krugman as a nonplussed talk show guest and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich as a romantic rival.

WILL YOU FORGET SARAH MARSHALL? It’s kind of like comparing drug-laced apples to oranges, with Sarah being a raunchy rom-com and Greek a raunchy comedy of misadventure highly reminiscent of The Hangover. Ultimately, Greek has the bigger laughs.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Like My Favorite Year for contemporary rock music, Get Him To the Greek builds an amusing comedy team around a lanky, pampered celebrity and his shlubby, harried minder. Despite usually being a sidekick who makes Seth Rogen look sexy by comparison, Hill comfortably carries the film, which marks a funny and welcome comeback not just for Aldous Snow, but for Judd Apatow’s productions after last year’s Funny Business.

Get him to the Greek 3 Stars. Directed by Nicholas Stoller. Stars Jonah Hill, Russell Brand. Rated R. Opens Fri., June 4. At area theaters.

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