June 3, 2010

Nicholas Stoller’s Get Him to the Greek explodes with energy and spends the first two thirds filled with hilarious jokes, fantastic comic set-ups, and brilliant comedic performances from stars Jonah Hill and Russell Brand.  You also have Sean Combs of all people almost stealing the movie.  However, while the first two thirds of the film are painfully funny, the third act grinds the picture to a halt and only the immense talents of Hill and Brand get Get Him to the Greek to the finish line.

Get Him to the Greek movie poster Jonah Hill, Russell BrandAldous Snow (played by Brand and originally seen in Forgetting Sarah Marshall) has tanked his entire career after his disastrous album, “African Child”, a self-indulgent, unintentionally racist “We Are the World”-like effort that the tabloids in the film call “the worst thing to happen to Africa since Apartheid.”  While Snow has descended into decadent ignominy in England, eager record company stooge Aaron Green (Hill but as a completely different character than the one he played in Forgetting Sarah Marshall) has made a suggestion his boss (Sean Combs) loves: bring Snow back to the Greek Theater for the 10th anniversary of his “Infant Sorrow” concert tour.  Green is sent to fetch Snow from England and the film covers the three days of detours and mishaps that happen (mainly to Aaron) as he tries to get the rock star to the show on time.

When the film is traveling, it works perfectly.  I saw the movie almost three weeks ago and there are still lines that crack me up when I think about them.  I won’t spoil the jokes, but Hill and Brand take the script and make every situation reach its comedic potential.  But the biggest shocker in the movie is Combs who almost walks away with the movie.  It’s his performance that people will be talking about as they leave the theater.

But when Get Him to the Greek arrives in Los Angeles, the story has nowhere else to go, but it drags on for another half-hour anyway.  The film forces comedic set-ups that aim for awkward comedy but instead just feel awkward.  The movie then attempts to achieve an emotional resolution that it never really earns.  These ploys also reveal what the first two acts are able to hide fairly well: Hill and Brand don’t have a lot of comic chemistry.  Individually, they’re fantastic but it never feels like Aldous and Aaron are building a friendship over the course of the movie.  Rather, it’s Aldous being childish and Aaron having to become more childish in an insane-yet-usually-successful move to keep the wayward rock star under control.

For its first two acts, Get Him to the Greek is one of the funniest movies of the year.  It’s got two terrific comic leads, Sean Combs being funnier than anyone thought possible, a solid premise, and some smart moments of parody regarding modern rock and celebrity culture.  But the film slams against its third act and it’s only because Hill and Brand are so damn good at their jobs that they’re able to carry Get Him to the Greek the rest of the way.

Rating: B-

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