Monday, June 7, 2010

Movie Review: Get Him to the Greek

Good morning shiny, happy people. I remember back before I was an adult, when weekends were for being a lazy ass and watching non-stop marathons of sci-fi movies and playing video ga...I mean, hanging out with other humans and touching girl parts? Okay, fine, I mostly read comics. But it beat the hell out of mowing lawns, grocery shopping, doing laundry, and so forth and so on. I did get to see a few movies this weekend, most notably the second funniest comedy I've seen so far this year (Mystery Team shall not be topped soon...and I really need to get a review up for that). No, I'm talking about Get Him to the Greek, which was actually just as funny as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, even though that was a much better movie (Greek imploded by the end). One thing I couldn't quite fit in the review is my problem with Jonah Hill right now. Dude needs to hit the gym or see a doctor. He's beginning to look like the girl who ate the blueberry in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The thing is, comedians can be tubby, but it's usually part of their schtick. Hill actually does "thin guy" comedy. He's all about crisp, fast dialogue and witty responses, not goofy, physical, big dude comedy. What I'm saying is, for both his health and his career, he needs to PX90 himself.

Enough about that, here's my review for you to peruse!

Get Him to the Greek shows the whimsical side of addiction

Understanding the multiple reality component of quantum mechanics is actually quite simple: Just watch any modern comedy. Practical existence is stretched and bent, resulting in a universe that very much resembles the one we inhabit but also allows, for example, Michael Scott from “The Office” to stay regional manager despite eleventy billion fireable offenses.

Writer/director Nicholas Stoller’s Get Him to the Greek exists in a place where alcohol poisoning is impossible, vomit is a chic accessory and herpes is a myth—insert your own “Jersey Shore” joke here. Right up until the third act falls through a wormhole and ends up in our plane of existence, it’s a flippin’ riot. But sincerity is comic kryptonite when 90% of jokes involve the audience laughing at the foibles of an addict and his paid enabler.

The addict is fallen rock star Aldous Snow, played by Russell Brand, whom God seemingly assembled on a dare. The permanently scruffy, chubby-cheeked Brit looks like he’s wearing a Cher wig on a humid day and has the gift of making the most mundane sentence sound like a Carnegie Hall routine. Snow first appeared in Forgetting Sarah Marshall as a sober celebrity who cuckolded the hero. The first guffaw-enducing five minutes of this spinoff detail his descent from rock royalty to has-been, brought on mostly by “African Child,” an album dubbed the third worst thing to happen to Africa behind only war and famine.

Desperate record executive Sergio (Sean “P. Diddy” Combs) agrees to let his low-level lackey Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) execute a plan to resurrect Snow’s career by performing a concert commemorating his celebrated show at the Greek Theater. Emotionally vulnerable after splitting abruptly with his far-hotter girlfriend (Elisabeth Moss), Green must retrieve the lecherous Snow from his death-spiral relapse and get him on stage within three days. Shenanigans, tomfoolery and literal butt-loads of drugs abound.

For the first hour and 15 minutes, when the characters are all cartoons to whom nothing of consequence can ever happen, Greek is a burst pipe of funny, spilling chuckles by the ocean-full. With Brand’s effortless hilarity, Hill’s neurotic patter and Combs’ inexplicably brilliant self-parody, the film barely stops to breathe…until it stops dead in its tracks, reverses course and asks audiences to take things seriously. If we are to consider Snow’s plight on a real, emotional level, how awful must we feel about laughing at his drug-fueled wackiness just five minutes earlier? We’re sick bastards, all of us!

Really, it’s best to just ignore the final 20 minutes, which feel like they’ve been snipped from a far inferior, far cheesier dud produced by Drew Barrymore. Instead, relish the surrealist interplay between Brand and Hill, whose bromance is one of the few actually consummated. Both actors should have bright futures, provided Hill doesn’t continue expanding at an exponential rate and Brand exhibits some measure of diversity. Get Him to the Greek ultimately isn’t philosophically transcendent but it is sophomorically satisfying.

Grade = B

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