Sunday, April 3, 2011

Get Him to the Greek

I don't recall if I ever saw a full trailer for this movie, but I know from the TV spots that I don't think they ever made it clear that this is actually a spin-off of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, with Russell Brand reprising his role as insane rock star Aldous Snow. I didn't know this until people mentioned it elsewhere, and you'd think the advertising would capitalize on this face, since Snow was possibly the funniest single thing about that movie. As it was, it just looked like a raunchy comedy about a fat nervous guy and a wacky British guy running around and partying. Which it is, but it happens to be a very enjoyable one, and the Snow character is a big part of that. I'm ambivalent about Brand, who can come off as endearingly wacky or completely irritating depending on what day it is, but this role certainly brings out the best in him. Snow is partly just a typical drug abusing out-of-his-mind musician, but there are layers of loneliness and self awareness underneath that exterior, and his unique use of the English language never ceases to entertain. He plays a secondary role to Jonah Hill's young talent agent Aaron, but I think he could have carried the movie himself.

Not that Hill's bad at all in the movie. He always seems to find a new little twist on his general persona in each new movie, and this character is definitely a bit different, being a very nervous young guy who just wants to do a good job but makes a habit of screwing up. He has to get Snow to the Greek Theatre in LA from his home in London in just a couple days, and unfortunately for him Snow is much better at procrastinating than he is at getting him to do anything. There's an interesting dynamic between the two, as Aaron grows from admiring Snow at a distance to understanding what the man is really like, and Snow comes to appreciate one of the only people he's met who doesn't want to take advantage of him. The supporting cast is good too. Elisabeth Moss plays Aaron's girlfriend, and she seems liberated by playing a character that isn't a 60s copy writer. Their relationship is sweet, even if it gets splintered heavily by the events of the film. Colm Meaney plays Snow's father, and his combination of easy charm with completely awful motives is an interesting turn. Diddy is also surprisingly entertaining as Hill's boss, even if it seemed like his role was overplayed in advertisements. His character is truly foul mouthed and insane, which are both aspects they couldn't really get across in TV spots, and I was pleasantly surprised by the character.

So Hill and Brand run around Europe and then the United States, getting impossibly intoxicated on alcohol and drugs, and going to absurdly debaucherous parties, and basically doing everything except going where they should be. I think the movie works because the adult content is just so completely over the edge, which makes it more interesting to watch than a standard R rated road trip movie. I did see the unrated version, so I wonder how much that helped. Over time they learn more about each other, and by the end they've finally realized things that will let them have better lives from that point forward. It's a pretty standard arc for this sort of movie, but it all works because it's very competently put together by Nicholas Stoller and his crew and the cast is very solid. Not every gag works, but enough do for me to recommend it as much as most other Judd Apatow-produced comedies.

No comments: