Get Him to the Greek: A Loud, Sweet, Funny Mess
There are myriad moments during Get Him to the Greek—the roller-coaster spin-off of Forgetting Sarah Marshall—when it feels as if the thing will jump the rails and smash to the ground in a thousand pieces of what-in-the-fuck. It's a complete and utter mess from the big-loud-dumb start to the awwww-that's-so-sweet finish. It's hardly a narrative at all, more like a loosely stitched-together hodgepodge of scenes starring the same characters as they hurl toward the titular venue but not before making soused and sentimental pit stops along the way in London, New York and Las Vegas.
Which is not to suggest it's not entertaining. Get Him to the Greek is a mess, but an amiable and occasionally uproarious one thanks mostly to Russell Brand's reprising of his role as Aldous Snow. He is, or was in Sarah Marshall, the teetotaling frontman for Infant Sorrow, a sort of Spinal Tap redux best known for its groupies (the Sorrow Suckers) and such hits as "Inside of You," "The Clap," "Gang of Lust" and "I Am Jesus." In Sarah Marshall, Aldous was the guest star in someone else's story. But even in a bit part, Brand, a comic who already fancies himself a rocker, played Aldous with the smug self-righteousness of all rehabbed rockers way too quick to remind you they've swapped booze and dope for yoga and politics.
Aldous has now moved center stage, just in front of the pyrotechnics. And, initially, it seems like it could be too much of a good thing: Brand starts out at 11, playing Aldous like some arena-rock version of a Sacha Baron Cohen character. The first thing we see is a graphic, exploitive war-torn video for the Infant Sorrow song "African Child" set in "Darfur, Zimbabwe, Rwanda"—Aldous, new to cause-rock, isn't quite sure which. He compares himself to an "African white Christ from space"; others argue he's the worst thing to happen to race relations since apartheid. And so, rather quickly, begins Snow's fall—a descent expedited by the on-air bust-up of his relationship with singer Jackie Q (Rose Byrne), who insists during an interview that he was more tolerable when he was fucked up.
So off the wagon he goes—just in time for a lower-rung record-label lackey named Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) to pitch an Infant Sorrow comeback concert to his boss, Sergio (Sean Combs). Hill isn't reprising his role from Forgetting Sarah Marshall—Matthew, the Hawaiian resort waiter with the creepy crush on Aldous. He's still a fan, but just a fan, not a stalker with a demo disc. He's well adjusted enough to even have a cute-'n'-cuddly relationship with a nurse played by Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss. Aaron simply believes a label in need of a boost could do no better than resurrecting Snow—"one of the last remaining rock stars," says Aaron.
Sergio dispatches Aaron to retrieve Aldous, with the instructions to "mind-fuck" him into staying straight and getting on the plane and to the Today show first, followed by the gig at the Greek. Things, of course, don't go as planned—at which point, writer-director Nicholas Stoller, responsible for Sarah Marshall, turns Get Him to the Greek into a desperately demented version of Cameron Crowe's buzzed-on-nostalgia autobiography Almost Famous.
Judd Apatow produced—can't you just smell the man-on-man love affair from here? Sooner than later, Aaron's girlfriend drops out of the picture, which leaves Aaron free to live the rock-and-roll lifestyle with Aldous, who, it turns out, has little stomach left for the decadence, a sentiment that rubs off on Aaron, along with several other stickier substances. Joints and women will be shared; lessons will be learned. Hey, this is an Apatow film, all right: the stoner movie that eventually turns into a just-say-no PSA. Now, group hug!—or threesome, in this movie's case.
That's what Get Him to the Greek ultimately has going for it: It's crude, loud, dumb fun.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.