‘Get Him’ arc a joyous experience

FRIDAY, JUNE 4, 2010

Jonah Hill and Russell Brand in “Get Him to the Greek.”movieweb.com (movieweb.com)
Jonah Hill and Russell Brand in “Get Him to the Greek.”movieweb.com (movieweb.com)

“Get Him to the Greek” is hormonal, anarchic fun. It’s a Judd Apatow production, a sort of sequel to “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” the raunchy romantic comedy where we first encountered Russell Brand as debauched rock star Aldous Snow.

Like the best Apatow films, this follow-up ties your emotions into the characters while your mind reels in convulsions of joy.

Jonah Hill plays Aaron Green, a low-level record-label exec about to settle into premature middle age. He lives with his girlfriend, a physician who returns from her residency shifts too exhausted to do anything but give him a goodnight peck on the forehead, and channels his rebellious tendencies into his love of rock.

When he recommends that his ailing label re-stage Snow’s triumphant 2000 concert at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, he’s assigned to chaperone the dissipated rocker on the three-day trip from London.

For Snow, coming off a monumentally insensitive African concept album (“the worst thing to happen to Africa since Apartheid”), the concert is an offer he can’t refuse.

As a fading rocker finally running out of sycophants and facing the rigors of marriage, children and addiction, he’s got some urgent growing up to do. But he’s stuck at a point where, whatever the challenge, the only logical course of action is getting wasted, laid or – ideally – both.

So Snow hijacks his baby sitter and the expected sex-drugs-and-drink shenanigans occur.

Aaron is humiliated at every turn. He’s forced to act as Aldous’ drug mule at the airport, chugs the rocker’s intoxicants so he doesn’t arrive at a “Today” show interview stoned, and even enables him in a funny-squirmy sexual encounter.

Brand has a ball with Aldous, who camouflages his decadence as woolly, live-the-moment idealism. A reunion with his father, a resentful absentee musician sharply played by Colm Meaney, explains why Aldous needs to stand onstage being idolized by strangers.

Hill’s role as Aaron isn’t such a showboat part, but he makes the hapless nerd appealing. We see him veering into a life that could be a no-fun grind and we root for him to escape that fate.

The surprise of the film is Sean “P. Diddy” Combs as the record-company owner. Introduced as a stock character, the hot-tempered boss, he keeps popping up in the story, gaining new comic dimensions with every appearance.

Add in a cavalcade of inspired show-business cameos and a slew of funny mock rock anthems (“We’ve Got the Clap” – everybody sing!) and you have proof that broad comedy is not necessarily dumb comedy.

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