For fans of Forgetting Sarah Marshall‘s breakout character Aldous Snow and his twisted take on sexuality and life in general – or for those for whom the trailer for this film suggested a light-hearted romp – it might be hard to reconcile expectations with what Get Him to the Greek delivers. While there are certainly lighter moments, this film is more dark than one might think.
Years after the events in Hawaii, Snow (Russell Brand) has fallen from the top of the rock idol tree to be labelled with that most unwanted of monikers, has-been. When record company nobody Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) suggests a ten-year anniversary concert at the Greek Theatre in LA, he will be tasked with getting the main event to the gig, but the bigger challenge may be in staying true to his own ideals without being entrapped by the rockstar lifestyle of sex and drugs.
There isn’t a whole lot more to it than that, however writer/director Nicholas Stoller attempts to make his film both gross-out road-trip comedy and moving story of personal growth and redemption. Perhaps this is just too much to expect from his characters, as Get Him to the Greek is simply too long and too uneven to really work. The sexual antics and wild parties of the first two thirds of the film are often funny and frequently gross, however they don’t sit well with the way Stoller attempts to close his film.
Performances are generally strong, with Brand again the charismatic star of the show, just as in his supporting role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Hill is the real surprise, as his restrained turn as Aaron belies his career which has been built on turns as over-the-top loser-types. Rose Byrne milks as much as she can out of her role as Snow’s long-time girlfriend Jackie Q, performing in a couple of raunchy video clips that are truly inspired. In much the same way as Snow earned a spin-off film from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the same might become true of Sean “Diddy” Combs’ performance as record company exec Sergio Roma. Sergio’s manic instruction of Aaron in the ways of ‘mind-fucking’ a client is hilarious, and Combs never wavers.
The production of the live performances and music videos is top-notch, and really lifts the film above simple parody. Perhaps if the same attention had been paid to the film’s structure and pacing, it might have been far more enjoyable than it is in its current form. There are sequences that really drag, and I couldn’t help but think that the film should have ended around ten minutes before Stoller chose to call cut. The final scenes add a sense that he was confused about his film and what he wanted it to be.
In its current state, it is hard to see Get Him to the Greek as anything other than an interesting but ultimately unsuccessful spin-off, which is a shame given the strength of the leading performances and music production. As a much darker take on the life of Aldous Snow and those around him, the film never quite follows through to its natural conclusion, instead choosing a lighter route that some will find hard to swallow. Wait for dvd.Rating: