The key to the success of all Judd Apatow’s productions is that no matter how childish or complex the characters may be, everybody is so lovable in their own zany way. Forgetting Sarah Marshall was a comedy that overflowed with such memorable players that I felt the cast was worthy of a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Acting Ensemble. With exception to Robert Downey Jr.’s Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder, there probably hasn’t been a finer comedic character to emerge from the cinema this decade than Russell Brand’s creation of rock star Aldous Snow. It only makes sense that this hilarious crossbreed of Johnny Depp and Hugh Grant should get his own spinoff movie in Get Him to the Greek.
Brand reprises his role as Aldous, who after staying sober for seven years has fallen off the wagon. His last album, “African Child,” was a monumental flop and his girlfriend/mother of his child, played by Rose Byrne from the FX series Damages, has dumped him. With his career in a rut, Snow spends all his time drinking and doing drugs at his flat in London. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles lives Aaron Green, an intern at a record company, played by Jonah Hill. Aaron is in a long-term relationship with a woman named Daphne, played by Elisabeth Moss from Mad Men. But she’s so worn out from an internship at a hospital that she rarely has time anymore to go out and party with her boyfriend. Aaron is given the opportunity of a lifetime when his boss, played by Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, asks him to pick up Aldous Snow from London for a reunion concert at the Greek Theater. Little does Aaron realize the numerous parties, orgies and benders that entail with accompanying Aldous.
Hill previously played a waiter/wanna-be-singer obsessed with Aldous Snow in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Here he has tremendous chemistry with Russell Brand, producing one of the absolute funniest on-screen duos since Seth Rogan and James Franco in Pineapple Express. In addition to Hill and Brand, there are hilarious performances from the entire cast. Rose Byrn reveals a completely different side of herself in her native Australian tongue as singer Jackie Q. I knew Moss could be funny from a self-parody of her character Peggy Olson on an episode of Saturday Night Live. Here she’s a delight as a woman who may seem controlling at first but really loves her boyfriend. Stealing the whole show is P Diddy as Sergio Roma, a fowl-mouthed record company executive who I wouldn’t mind seeing paired up with Tom Cruise’s Les Grossman.
At the film’s core is another outstanding performance from Brand as this unforgettable character. Aldous Snow might not seem like somebody who could evolve beyond a supporting role. However, director/screenwriter Nicholas Stoller brings just the right amount of depth to the picture. He builds Snow into a three-dimensional individual with a fragile ego and more inner demons than you may expect. It would have been easy for Get Him to the Greek to become one big chase movie. In the midst of all the film’s insanity though, there’s a lot a truth to the tragic lifestyle and flaws of performing artists.
Get Him to the Greek isn’t quite as funny as Forgetting Sarah Marshall or some of producer Apatow’s best comedies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Superbad and Knocked Up. Nevertheless, it’s still one of the best comedies of 2010 and certainly the funniest film in theaters as of now.
Nick Spake is a college student at Arizona State University. He has been working as a film critic for the past five years, reviewing movies on his website, http://www.freewebs.com/radman_ns. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.