Review: “Get Him to the Greek”

Infant Sorrow’s Aldous Snow returns for more debauchery.

Aaron Green (Hill) and Aldous Snow (Brand) getting to the Greek.

Universal Pictures

Aaron Green (Hill) and Aldous Snow (Brand) getting to the Greek.

Tony Libera

In 2008âÄôs âÄúForgetting Sarah MarshallâÄù moviegoers were introduced to the charismatic Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), rock âÄònâÄô roll frontman, recovering junkie and noted lothario. His sexual promiscuity set him up as a quasi-antagonist (he was shtupping our heroâÄôs woman on the sly), but in the end, SnowâÄôs wholesale cordiality and hilarious life musings made him likeable, if not downright lovable. It would have been a pleasure to see that same Aldous Snow in âÄúGet Him to the Greek,âÄù but instead the character is remodeled for the spotlight, tweaked into an unhinged narcissist who earns his biggest laughs at the expense of others. The story offers something of an explanation for the devolution: SnowâÄôs latest album, âÄúAfrican Child,âÄù has bombed critically and commercially, heâÄôs on his last leg with longtime open girlfriend Jackie Q (Rose Byrne) and heâÄôs fallen off the wagon âÄî hard. The only person who believes in him now is a sprightly nobody, a record company intern named Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) who has three days to get the imploding Snow from London to Los Angeles for a career-resuscitating show at the Greek Theatre. Wild road trip/buddy-flick hijinks ensue, with this not-so-dynamic duo chugging down absinthe, smoking a Jeffrey (a drug cocktail in joint form) and engaging in a surprising amount of anal penetration. Debauchery is all well and good, but at a certain point, both in life and in the movies, it leaves something to be desired. WeâÄôre given craziness in portioned doses, but all the one-liners and manic plot points never add up to a cohesive, comedic whole. Chalk it up to the script, penned by âÄúFSMâÄù director Nicholas Stoller and not its mastermind Jason Segel. As a replacement, Stoller is adequate at best, relying on insane situations and multifarious excess for laughs, instead of his characters. âÄúFSMâÄù successfully walked a tightrope, balancing between raunchy humor and understated wit, but âÄúGHTTGâÄù just tries to meet its gag quota. Stoller makes a few desperate attempts at nuance toward the end, but he ultimately falls short. Perhaps StollerâÄôs failures are best exemplified by the music present in the film. âÄúGHTTGâÄù offers a slew of new tunes from Infant Sorrow and Jackie Q, which attempt to satirize modern popdom while still being blatantly comedic. Throwing subtlety out the window turns out to be problematic, and tracks like âÄúThe ClapâÄù end up feeling cheap because of it (the chorus is âÄúWe got the clap/you got the clap,âÄù accompanied by the slapping of hands). Yeah, itâÄôs funny because heâÄôs singing about gonorrhea, but the song isnâÄôt nearly as clever as those in âÄúFSM,âÄù particularly âÄúInside of You,âÄù which is just as sexually punny, if not more so, and infinitely better. Despite its troubles, âÄúGHTTGâÄù is not without some merit. Russell Brand attempts to transcend the script with his portrayal of Snow, succeeding every now and then with a killer one-liner. This is, after all, the role he was born to play, and itâÄôs his off-the-cuff remarks and odd reactions that make the movie worth watching. Jonah Hill also pulls his weight and shows some range in the process, swapping his usual vulgarity for a straight-laced brand of humor. âÄúGet Him to the GreekâÄù avoids flop distinction thanks to their efforts, but the film never quite lives up to its predecessor. 2/4 Stars