Published Jun 03, 2010Since when does a spin-off get enough love to become one of the funniest comedies of the past decade? Russell Brand reprises his role as blissfully ignorant, faux-everything (political, spiritual, musical) rock star Aldous Snow, first seen in the fantastic Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Director Nicholas Stoller is behind the camera again, handling writing duties this time out as well, turning in a sharp, gut busting, celebrity culture lampooning script that doesn't abandon the lovability of its core characters for cheap chuckles.
After a period of massive success and sobriety, Snow released the bloated, wrong brained, horribly offensive African Child album, a flop that derailed his career, his long-term relationship with dirty pop queen Jackie Q and his time on the wagon. Jonah Hill steps up in his first co-leading role as record company intern Aaron Green, giving the most sympathetic and consistently hilarious performance of his career.
It's a rough economic climate for the declining record industry and it's Green's idea to bank on reviving the career of one of the last great rock stars instead of gambling on a "game changer," like a new rap sensation who's "gonna fuck your shit" to club beats. Thus it becomes Green's mission, after a muddled break-up with his live-in girlfriend, to fly to London and get Snow to the Greek Theatre in L.A. in time for his big comeback performance.
Whatever your expectations, Get Him To the Greek is far better. We know Russell Brand and Johan Hill can be outrageously funny, and they absolutely are, but both manage to play it somewhat straight in relation to their characters, mostly allowing the situations and clever writing to work their zany mojo. All the more impressive, while racking up a nearly non-stop, full body laugh count, neither overshadow the phenomenally funny ensemble cast, particularly the scene stealing Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, perfectly cast to become a comedic tsunami of stellar timing and unhinged business acumen.
It's impossible to quantify the intensity of the laughs with quotable lines; it's much more about pacing, context and delivery. Sure, it's not a flawless story, but there's more of a point and genuine emotional exploration than in The Hangover, and never does it resort to random ridiculousness like Mike Tyson singing to a tiger.
If you want to laugh until you're gasping for enough air to dry heave, get your ass to a theatre seat for some Greek. (Universal)