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Friday
Jun042010

Get Him to the Greek

It’s not everyday you see a comedy that’s truly funny, one that’s smart, well written and delivers laughs to the point of breathlessness. Sure, some are stupidly enjoyable (MacGruber), but those lack soul. The best comedies aim for something higher than simply producing laughter. The best comedies give you an interesting story and characters you can relate to. Get Him to the Greek is one of those comedies. I know it’s been said already by numerous other critics, but it’s true so I’ll reiterate: Get Him to the Greek is the funniest movie since The Hangover.

Jonah Hill plays Aaron Green, a young intern at Pinnacle Records who comes up with a great idea: get rock star Aldous Snow, played by Russell Brand, to do a tenth anniversary performance at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. The rocker has been on a downfall ever since he released a single called “African Child” that was claimed by critics to be “the worst thing to happen to Africa since apartheid,” and this performance may be his opportunity for a comeback, so he agrees. The executive of the record company, played by Sean “Diddy” Combs tasks Aaron with getting Aldous from London to LA, with a stop at “The Today Show” in between. He has three days and with an out of control rocker like Aldous, it’s not going to be easy.

If the name Aldous Snow seems familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve already seen him in action elsewhere. Remember the sleazy rocker having sex with Jason Segel’s girlfriend in Forgetting Sarah Marshall? Yeah, that’s him and he has been given his own spin-off here. Spin-offs always come with risks because a character that worked in small bits in another movie may not be able to fully sustain another and if you asked me beforehand, I would have argued Aldous doesn’t have it in him, but I’m happy to report he does.

From the wild opening to the rocking conclusion, this film provides constant laughs due to the excellent writing and, more importantly, the terrific comedic chemistry between Brand and Hill. It seems like an odd pairing, and it is, but it works. Brand's careless rocker persona is the perfect counterpart to Hill’s seriousness and dedication. Whereas he sees the crazy events unfolding around him and thinks of them merely as another day in the life, the young intern can’t handle it and begins to freak out, most notably in a hysterical late scene where he thinks he’s having a heart attack after taking a puff from a Jeffrey, a joint with all different kinds of ridiculous drugs packed in it.

What will come as a surprise as the credits begin to roll, however, is that you will actually feel for these characters. As I watched, I couldn’t help but compare this to other notable comedies, but I kept thinking, “Sure, this is funny, but I don’t really care what happens.” For instance, in The Hangover, I wanted to know what happened to Doug. Here it didn’t matter to me whether or not they made the concert. But that’s where the film tricks you. It’s not really about that. It’s about the development of Aaron and Aldous. Both learn things along the way, grow as people and when they each break down late in the movie and spill their guts, I was there with them. The emotion took me by surprise and further solidified this picture as quality material.

It’s not perfect, of course, and leaves a few loose ends, like an unfinished story with Snow’s father who shows up, gets his head smashed into a television and then disappears, but it’s nothing that’s going to negatively impact the film too hugely because this thing is funny. Only a handful of jokes don’t work at all and fall flat. The rest are at their worst amusing and at their best uproarious. You need to get yourself to Get Him to the Greek.

Get Him to the Greek receives 4/5