Get Him to the Greek is one of the surprising films of the early summer movie season, in that it is neither blockbuster, romantic-action comedy, or 3-D marvel. Rather, it fits the criteria of a standard two-dimensional comedy — very “slapstick”, buddy-buddy-like, and at times overly ridiculous. Like the film it spins off of, 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it manages to bring a lot of heart into the equation — one that still allows plenty of room for numerous vacant stares and throw-up gags. Surprise!
The movie opens up to self-absorbed rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) parading around the set of the music video to his most recent and highly offensive track, “African Child”. Naturally, the single panned by media outlets as the worst thing to happen to Africa since the apartheid (among other less scathing mentions). Enter Aaron Green (Jonah Hill), a miserable intern at failing music company Pinnacle Records. Incidentally, Aaron’s favorite band is Infant Sorrow, the vehicle that propelled Snow to fame before fame got the better of him. In an attempt to save Pinnacle Records from impending nonexistence — and perhaps revive Snow’s diminishing career — Aaron pitches an idea to his boss, music mogul Sergio Roma (Sean “Diddy” Combs) — a ten-year anniversary show commemorating Infant Sorrow’s last and possibly greatest performance at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. With combination ticket, DVD, and merchandise sales, Pinnacle Records will be saved — good enough, so says his boss. And so Aaron is put to task in making it happen, mainly in making sure Aldous Snow gets from London to a promotional on the Today Show in New York to the show Los Angeles without a hitch in 72 hours. What’s the worst that could happen? Well, it all depends on how much the audience is expected to laugh.
Despite the formula of at times unnecessarily aggravating comedic gags — including but not limited to unwillingly smuggling narcotics in one’s orifice, over-consumption of drugs and alcohol, and, well, freaking out Meredith Vieira (not in that order) — everything seems to have its place. The balance of sympathetic gut laughter with shock reactions has an almost Seinfeldian flair about it. The situations that unfold are at times too absurd to think about, but if in the hopefully unlikely event that they did occur, one would hope they’d be able to laugh about it later as hard as they are during the film.
Brand’s Aldous Snow and Hill’s Aaron Green, as opposite as they may seem, aren’t really that opposite. They both don’t know what they’re doing. However, it’s Aldous’ star quality that allows him to get away with certain things, while it’s Aaron’s hometown average guy mentality (and pressure to keep his job) that ropes him into the rock star lifestyle — a brief jaunt, mind you — while getting Snow to Los Angeles. That said, it’s funny to see the relationship between the two of them quickly go from one of one-sided respect to no longer existing at all. The brilliant sunshine quality of celebrity is washed away by the downpour of Snow’s narcissism and failure to be a responsible adult. It is then that Aaron is forced to change his views on life in general — at least momentarily so as not to drop the ball and come out alive, if not completely ahead.
Aaron remains the guy who wants to do what is right, but even the most neutral guy has his boiling point. It could be the raucous sex with nameless, drugged-out ladies, or it could be the unknown combination of drugs he himself ingests. Aldous remains as charming as ever, despite personal dilemmas, even when his choice detours go awry. The film itself tackles serious sides of both the characters, working the idea of mending relationships, accepting what life throws at us, and pushing along no matter how ridiculous the circumstance. It’s a little like your mother sneaking spinach into your favorite dish because she knows it’s good for you — and you don’t mind because you enjoyed it anyway.
With that, you’ve got a well-rounded film that shines through its imperfections. Definitely worth a see.