In other reviews I’ve done of comedies, I’ve gotten some flack from people for comparing two movies. For instance, Hot Tub Time Machine and The Hangover. Comparisons are inevitable, and an important part of actually communicating just who I think would enjoy this movie. If you enjoyed movie A, you might like movie B. It seems reasonable to me, if two movies are similar, to compare them.
When it comes to Get Him To The Greek, I can honestly compare it to Forgetting Sarah Marshall. After all, it’s kind of a sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in a way. The director is the same (Nicholas Stoller), one of the characters is the same (Russell Brand’s Aldous Snow), and even one of the actors makes a return appearance (Jonah Hill). How could you not compare the two?
If you liked Aldous Snow’s character in Sarah Marshall, you’ll like Get Him To the Greek. Aldous Snow is the classic preening rock star, which is a dying breed. Aaron Green (Hill) works for Pinnacle Records, which is another dying edifice of former days: a major record label.
When Pinnacle boss Sergio Roma (Sean “P. Diddy” Combs) questions his underlings about ways to build new revenue, Aaron Green has an idea: get Aldous Snow back to the Greek Theater for a 10-year anniversary concert. After all, the Greek is where Infant Sorrow blew up, so why not return to the well, take it to pay-per-view and Internet simulcasting, and make some serious money off it?
There’s only one problem. Aldous Snow has not only relapsed into drug use after seven years sober, he’s actually worse than ever. His last album bombed, his longtime on-again, off-again, on-again girlfriend Jackie Q (Rose Byrne) broke up with him and took up with Lars Ulrich, and his only friend in life is heroin. It’s up to Aaron to somehow get Aldous from London to Los Angeles in one piece.
Get Him to the Greek isn’t so much a road picture, but a series of vignettes in various locations designed to celebrate the mythology of rock and roll lifestyle. Aldous Snow and Jackie Q are both ridiculousness over the top, and as such, satire perfectly the public images of various rock and pop icons. The two are like if Jordan Price married Pete Dougherty, then made the most ill-conceived concept album in history.
Given that Brand is the focus, this is very much an Aldous Snow movie. As such, it’s very entertaining, very funny, and (at times) surprisingly touching. Watching Snow’s relationship with Jonah Hill’s green only builds on the chemistry the two actors hinted at during their scenes together in Sarah Marshall, and it’s nice to see that it works so well in this go-around.
However, much like Brand and Hill stole scenes in FSM, P. Diddy steals scenes in Get Him to the Greek. Seriously, every scene in which Combs appears is hilarious. Sergio is literally one of the biggest, funniest surprises of the whole movie, revealing Combs to be as good a comic as he was a dramatic actor in his brief role in Monster’s Ball.
While the characters are outrageous, Stoller’s script is very careful to temper the men before things spiral out of control and become caricatures. Aldous Snow is a big partier, but there’s also some sensitivity there. Roma is a hard-driven executive who wants to make money, but he’s a devoted father to his six kids. Green is in over his head, but he’s trying his best to do the right thing by all involved.
Yes, the scenes are outrageous, and there’s a lot of craziness going on, but it’s kind of a reasonable craziness. Like, some of the situations are crazy, but it’s ‘rock star excess’ crazy, not ‘this would never happen in real life’ crazy. It’s not artificial movie crazy, it’s believably self-destructive partying crazy. These things happen. Just ask Led Zeppelin. The songs and music videos are hilariously odd and over-the-top, but they’re not so far out there that they’re not frighteningly reasonable (I can see Bono calling himself an African white space Christ, and I think Jackie Q’s music could very easily come out of the mouth of Lady Gaga).
It’s easy to forget that rock stars and millionaires live in a world none of us could ever possibly understand without being there. However, just because they have fame, money, and groupies, that doesn’t mean they’re immune to the problems inherent with the human condition. Rock stars bleed, cry, suffer, and laugh just like the rest of us. They just do it in nicer surroundings and with lots of sycophants around to hand them tissues and pills.