Movie Review: Get Him to the Greek
Remember that scene in Almost Famous where Billy Crudup gets really fucked up, stands on the roof of a house, and screams “I am a golden god”? That’s a funny, poignant scene. Now, take that scene and stretch it out over the entire length of 100+ minute movie. It becomes much less funny and actually kind of sad and depressing, like in the way that The Wrestler was. That’s what we get when a record company intern (Jonah Hill) is given his first “big break” by escorting the hard-partying Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) to an anniversary concert at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.
When we last saw Aldous Snow, in the much funnier Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he was sober and riding high as a world-famous rock star. Nowadays, he’s back to his perpetually wasted ways after a flop record and a divorce. Hill and Brand had great chemistry in their few scenes together in Marshall, but giving them (or maybe just their characters) the lead in this spin-off proves to be a bit of an overdose. Hill plays a different character in this movie, but it doesn’t really matter. Whether he’s a waiter or music-industry intern, he’s always basically the same guy.
As the movie travels from London to New York to L.A., we see the increasingly whiny Snow attempt to reconcile with the Lady Gaga-esque love of his life (Rose Byrne, Knowing) and his estranged father. Hill’s consumption-ridden trip features frequent cellular monitoring by his annoying girlfriend (Elisabeth Moss of TV’s “Mad Men”) and his boss, played by Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs. Combs is quite the scene stealer, much like Brand was in Marshall.
The story takes a back seat to the comedy for the majority of the movie, which would be fine if any of the comedy was inspired or memorable. Instead, Greek does nothing more than attempt to out-raunch the competition. We get the obligatory puking scenes, acid trip montages, and a bunch of overlong scenes featuring all sorts of things getting stuffed into all sorts of orifices.
There are some pretty clever pop-culture references, but writer/director Nicholas Stoller fails to add the personal touch that made Marshall so great. It’s almost as if he’s trying to craft an Almost Famous for the Hangover generation but he lacks the insight and heart that Cameron Crowe used to make Almost Famous a modern classic. I mean, even the boringly standard soundtrack selections reek of being uninspired. Our trip to London features montages set to “London Calling” and “Anarchy in the UK.” How cliché is that?
Get Him to the Greek attempts to create hilarity and poke fun at the music industry’s meat market approach to our overly indulgent and underappreciated rock stars in this day of a struggling music industry. I guess they want us to sympathize with Aldous Snow, but who’s really the victim here? It’s the true music fans who should feel underhanded in this age of pre-packaged and artistically inept rock acts. Produce something that is actually worth our money if you want the industry to survive. The same should go for the film industry. Make better movies if you want people to fork over the $10 per ticket because this isn’t it.
Watch instead: Almost Famous, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, America’s Sweethearts.