Bob and Justin's Mad Movie Blog

My name is Bob. My friend Justin and I are aspiring filmmakers and we have pretty similar tastes in movies. This will include our take on what's going on in film and television today as well as updating you on the status of our own work.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Get Him to the Greek's been awhile since I wrote one of these and honestly I haven't seen that much lately. I started a review of "Iron Man 2" but never finished it. Long story short I was entertained and that's all I asked for. I didn't review "MacGruber" because I just couldn't imagine wasting that much time writing about such an utterly worthless film. Now I'm back with my first review in nearly two months so I may be a bit rusty but here we go.
Two years ago at the height of the Apatow factory's output "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" arrived and while it was no "Knocked Up" or "Superbad" it was a very enjoyable comedy. Stars Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, and Mila Kunis all did fine work and were funny but as crude Brit-rocker Aldous Snow, Russell Brand outshone them all. Due to the character's rousing success, "FSM" director Nicholas Stoller has made a film with Aldous at its center, "Get Him to the Greek." Things start promisingly enough with Aldous and popstar girlfriend Jackie Q (a very funny Rose Byrne) starring in the music video for the self-congratulatory "African Child." Many of "FSM's" best moments involved taking very fair shots at celebrity nonsense and this first scene upholds that tradition. The idea that no one knew anything was wrong in Africa until Bono told us has long annoyed me so this was pretty satisfying.
After this however it became apparent that something was amiss here. Things that may have seemed funny on paper and were almost certainly funny on set just don't land the way they should.
Things don't really improve when we meet Aaron Green (Jonah Hill), possibly the only person with ideas at a major record label. It's been ten years since Aldous Snow's legendary performance at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, but the massive failure of "African Child" has turned Aldous into a has been. Aaron's plan to stage an anniversary concert is well-received by his boss, Sergio Roma (Combs Puff Diddy Daddy Sean). After Aldous agrees to do the show, Aaron is tasked with the responsibility of bringing Aldous from London to Los Angeles to perform the show. Now somehow I don't think a record company is going to send one young guy halfway across the world to bring a highly volatile drug addicted rock star in to play a concert. But since that's the premise of the film and I knew that going into it I suppose I can't complain about it too much. Still...
Not surprisingly things don't go according to plan and Aldous gets the fairly straight-laced Aaron into all sorts of shenanigans over the next three days as they try to get to L.A. Having just broken up with his girlfriend, Daphne (Elisabeth Moss), Aaron's not mentally or emotionally in a great place as it is and Aldous certainly doesn't help matters.
Near the end the movie takes a more serious turn that doesn't have the emotional impact it intends and it simply feels out of place.
"Get Him to the Greek" is mostly just flat. There are occasional moments in which Stoller gets the tone just right, particularly the quick montage of Aldous and Aaron's night in London and later on as the two run away from the sort of situation that only rockstars could get into. But the overall attempt to fully round out Aldous just doesn't work. It could have but the serious character development seems forced and the chemistry between Brand and Hill never quite seems to fly. P. Diddy meanwhile is just not a comedic acting talent. In the right hands Roma could have been a very funny character. It feels as though each of his scenes was done in one take and he frightened everyone on set into telling him that it was perfect and hilarious, cut, print, we're moving on. I just felt bad for Moss who was probably really excited to be doing a comedy after three years of "Mad Men," but the script never allows her a chance to be funny. Ironically, like "FSM," the unlikely star is a supporting character. As Jackie Q, Byrne shines brightly in her very limited screen time and she seems to be the only character who is in the movie that "Get Him to the Greek" should be. She's a glimpse at what might have been.
As 2010 nears the halfway point, it continues shaping up to be the worst year for movies in memory. 4.5/10.