Get Him to the Greek (Nicholas Stoller, 2010)Forgetting Sarah Marshall
was a spectacular comedy that had such moments of greatness. Now Get Him to the Greek
take my favorite character, Aldous Snow, and gives him his own movie. And it perfectly personifies what I loved so much about that character, plus goes to places I never suspected, in the best of ways. The main concept of the film is that Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), legendary rock star lead singer of Infant Sorrow, is now in a tail spin. He is now off the wagon, when in Sarah Marshall
he was on it, and is releases music that rivals famine and war as one of Africa's problems. At the same time, the recession is killing the record business and Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) is just a lowly cubical worker for exec/producer Sergio (Sean Combs). When Aaron's brilliant idea of an anniversary concert of Aldous Snow Live at the Greek gets accepted, he is responsible for bringing the star from his home in London to the show in Los Angeles. From there, the journey begins and in the words of Miley Cyrus, "Ain't about how fast I get there/Ain't about what's waiting on the other side/It's the climb."
The film, as a comedy, is not about the end result and the concert in Los Angeles, it is all about the madness that happens on the way there. What was surprising to me, however, was that what I liked best about this movie was the little things. Oftentimes comedies like this are outrageous and big laughs, but my experience was different this time. There were still the major gags that were funny, though not overly so, but all of the smaller, one-liners, the jokes told under the breath or just following a bigger gag, those were the ones I enjoyed most and had my stomach hurting. The film got all the small things right. Like the relationship between Aaron and his girlfriend Daphne, the relationship between Aaron and Aldous, the relationship between Aldous and his ex Jackie Q as well as his father. They all seemed and felt right to me. And the filmmakers added just enough personality as to not make these relationships too shallow or too deep.
But what really struck me in this film was the performance by Russell Brand. The man is undeniably hilarious and his madness is great here, but I am here to say that it was a legitimately great performance, worthy of recognition. And surprisingly enough it was his subtle delivery of emotion that hit me hardest. There were multiple times when my heart just broke for the guy. He plays a mad, drunken rock star, but for some reason I could not help but feel for him and feel sorry for him. It is his, and Aaron's, journey to the Greek that brings perspective into both of their lives and this clear emotional message inside this movie filled with ridiculous, crass comedy comes as a shock, but is pulled off to perfection by writer/director Nicholas Stoller. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
may or may not have been funnier, but Get Him to the Greek
succeeds as a great film on its own. Add it to Sarah Marshall
and Stoller is on a pretty good run, especially considering he wrote Yes Man
too.***1/2#5 of 2010 so far...