Get Him to the Greek

Staring Russell Brand, Jonah Hill and Rose Byrne. Directed by Nicholas Stoller. 109 mins.
Rated MA 15+ (strong sexual references, drug references and coarse language).


Refinement is not the first, second or even hundredth word that springs to mind in reviewing Get Him to the Greek.

 Rather, this is one of those raucous American comedies where there is potential to offend sensitive audiences as well as potential to offer some laughs to different sensitivities about how silly human beings can be.

 The silly human being in this case is a British rock star named Aldous Snow.  He appeared as a supporting character in writer-director Nicholas Stoller’s previous film, Forgetting Sarah Marshall  (and she has a moment or two in this film). He was played by comedian Russell Brand who is not known for being a quiet or subtle performer.  He tends to be in your face with few holds barred in his topics for laughs or in his language and references for jokes.  He comes across as a sometimes raving extrovert and the success of the film mainly depends on whether you enjoy this type of character and Russell Brand’s interpretation.  Like him or not, he does have his moments.

 Aldous Snow is the ‘him’ of the title.  For those who don’t know LA, the Greek is short for the Greek Theatre where rock concerts are held.  The command ‘get’ refers to Aaron Green, a publicist and producer for a record company.  He is played with a mixture of affability, exasperation and some silliness too by Jonah Hill who has shown a flair for offbeat comedy in many roles in recent years, including Superbad and Funny People.  It is Aaron who has the bright (?) idea to resurrect Snow’s career by getting him to sing at a concert in Los Angeles.  Snow is in London, has a reputation for erratic behaviour and the rock star propensity for drugs, drink and sex.  Will Aaron persuade him, get him out of London, get him to LA (after a detour to see his musician father, played by Colm Meaney, in Las Vegas).  And what effect will this have on Aaron who thinks he has broken up with his medical student girlfriend (Ellisabeth Moss) who wants to move to Seattle for hospital opportunities?
 A surprise is Sean Combs (P.Diddy) in the role of the demanding, manipulative and wheedling record company director.

 The tone is set in the opening credits which are quite an amusing parody of music videos, especially one called African Child which is claimed to have done more damage to Africa than apartheid (and pokes at Madonna and other western adopting parents).  It is also a summary of Snow’s success and then the collapse of his career and separation from his wife and music partner, Jackie Q (a surprising and different performance from Rose Byrne).

 There is quite an amount of mayhem along the way to the Greek.  But, underneath the bravado and living up to the reputation, there is a redeemable character inside Snow who, while he often does his best to undermine Aaron’s life and values, allows Aaron to be a catalyst for some change for the better.  All is not lost.  (There is a remark that British rock stars, unlike so many Americans, don’t burn out and kill themselves; after all, look at the Rolling Stones and their age and popularity.)  One of the producers of the film is Judd Apatow.  Most of his films have the dramatic curve of beginning with obnoxious characters and/or obnoxious behaviour, centring on immersing the audience in the obnoxious and then ending with an optimistic and morally reforming finale: the Judd Apatow Syndrome.  The same here.

Universal  Out June 17 2010

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.


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