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Movie Review: Get Him to the Greek

By Matthew Huntley

June 16, 2010

You must be at least this tall to ride. And no standing on your tippy toes, Penguin.

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Get Him to the Greek follows the traditions set forth by other raunchy comedies, but it works better than most because it’s grounded and sympathetic toward its characters. Many of its comic moments are outrageous and implausible, but somehow we believe they could happen to these people. It’s because of this the movie is able to get away with itself.

I have a feeling music fans are going to find a special place in their hearts for Get Him to the Greek, especially those in Los Angeles. The “Greek” in the title refers to the Greek Theater in L.A.’s Griffith Park, which I’m told is one of the city’s best concert venues. It’s also where Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), the movie’s fictional rock n’ roll star, headlined a sold-out show that became one of the highest-selling live albums of all time. This was before Snow released his bomb called “African Child,” which many deemed the worst thing to happen to Africa since apartheid.

Snow’s name resurfaces years later when his record label grows desperate for revenue. The company’s president, Sergio (Sean Combs), demands something fresh from his staff. That’s when Aaron Green (Jonah Hill), a smart, up-and-coming record producer, suggests a 10-year anniversary concert of Snow’s show at the Greek. Sergio likes it, but ever since “African Child,” Snow has fallen off the wagon, and hard. He’s back on drugs and alcohol; he’s broken up with his cheating girlfriend (Rose Byrne); and he lives with his verbally abusive mother (Dinah Stabb), who constantly bad-mouths Aldous’ estranged father (Colm Meaney). Aaron’s job is to pick Aldous up in London, swing back to New York for an appearance on The Today Show, and then get him to the Greek theater in time for his concert.




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Of course, nothing goes according to plan and Aaron finds himself in all sorts of trouble with other women who aren’t his girlfriend (Elizabeth Moss), alcohol, drugs, hangovers, etc. The movie is unapologetically rated R, but it’s probably tame compared to the real lifestyles of rock n’ roll stars. I liked that it doesn’t sugar-coat the language or substance abuse. It’s just more believable.

Although the movie’s first objective is to make us laugh, it’s not without a heart and we attach ourselves to the growing friendship that develops between Aaron and Aldous. Each man has his share of downfalls and we sympathize with him. I was actually touched when each man came to his own realization about what’s important in life. The movie does this without getting schmaltzy. For such an over-the-top, foul-mouthed comedy, it’s surprisingly sincere.

The movie was written and directed by Nicholas Stoller, who previously helmed the hilarious Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Get Him to the Greek isn’t in the same range as that film, but it still benefits from Stoller’s gift for fresh, topical humor and touching humanity. He’s perhaps too in love with his own dialogue and situations and you sense the movie could have benefited from another round in the editing room (some scenes linger too long and could have been tighter). But still, if we’re not laughing at the movie, we’re at least smiling. For a raunchy comedy, what more could you ask for?


     


 
 

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