ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "GET HIM TO THE GREEK" WORTH GETTING TO THE THEATER TO SEE

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By Brian Lafferty

June 4, 2010 (San Diego) -- Maybe Hollywood should focus on making comedies instead of romantic comedies. After enduring such sludge as When in Rome and The Bounty Hunter earlier this year, it has, in the past few months, been a welcome relief to see laugh out loud films like Death at a Funeral and Get Him to the Greek, which opens today.

 

Get Him to the Greek is a spinoff of the hit 2008 comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. This time around the spotlight is on Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), the rock star who had an affair with Sarah Marshall two years earlier. Snow is a rock singer whose career has taken a huge beating after his disastrous single African Child, a very tasteless song. (A magazine article describes it as “the worst thing since Apartheid.”)

Things begin to look up when Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) looks to rescue his career. He is tasked by his boss, Sergio Roma (P. Diddy) to bring him to Los Angeles for his comeback concert. The catch? He has three days to do it and he must go to London to bring him back.

Cringe humor abounds in Get Him to the Greek, much of it hilarious. Unlike the mope-riddled, lifeless, self-pitying nature of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, this movie is full of energy, generating a lot of laughs. Yes, Snow comes across as unlikeable at times but he’s so funny and puts Green through so much that it’s forgivable.

Take, for example, a scene at an airport. Snow and Green are ready to go through security when Snow asks a favor. He wants Green to stash a small bag of heroin up his rear. He refuses, of course, but he has no choice in the matter. What follows is one of the funnier sequences in the movie.

Jonah Hill, as always, is funny. I like him because he’s one of the few people who can be funny simply by talking. I know whenever I see him I can expect to laugh and, generally speaking, I do. He has so much energy and charisma and he plays his character, an intern doing a thankless task and undergoing nothing but humiliating experiences just to keep his job, very well.

The smart and intelligent screenplay knows not to half-ass on the humor. It is fearless. Scene after scene contains a lot of drinking, drug use, vomiting, and other tasteless acts involving the human body. It could have gone either way in terms of being funny or not being funny but it works because writer and director Nicholas Stoller handles it intelligently, honestly, and with perfect timing.

A Universal Pictures release.  Director:  Nicholas Stoller.  Screenplay:  Nicholas Stoller, based on characters created by Jason Segel.  Original Music:  Lyle Workman.  Cinematography:  Robert D. Yeoman.  Cast:  Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Elisabeth Moss, Rose Byrne, Sean Combs, and Colm Meaney.  Running Time:  109 minutes.  Rated R.

Brian Lafferty welcomes letters at brian@eastcountymagazine.org.  You can also follow him on Twitter:  @BrianLaff.