June 4, 2010 in Features

‘Get Him’ arc a joyous experience

Colin Covert (Minneapolis) Star Tribune
 
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Jonah Hill and Russell Brand in “Get Him to the Greek.”movieweb.com
(Full-size photo)

“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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