In 2008, the comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall debuted with relatively little fanfare. Marketing for the picture painted it as a mildly funny but otherwise unremarkable romantic comedy. Given its spring release date, I for one didn't consider it a priority. But producer Judd Apatow had once again enabled a superb product; Forgetting Sarah Marshall went on to be a small hit and one of the funniest movies of the year.
Two years later, director Nicholas Stoller has returned with what is more or less a sequel. Get Him to the Greek stars Russell Brand, returning as rock star Aldous Snow, and Jonah Hill, though, somewhat confusingly, not as the same character he played previously. The movie has Hill as a record company intern who is tasked with chaperoning the alcohol-and-drug-fueled rocker to his comeback show, which at first seems like a simple task until the musician's eccentricity comes into play.
As with Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek is a profanity-laced film that relies on eccentric characters and racy scenes to get its laughs. The movie is funny, but those looking for laughs at the Forgetting Sarah Marshall/Knocked Up/Superbad level will be disappointed. Get Him to the Greek's deficiencies have less to do with the humor than the plot, however.
The big difference between Get Him to the Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall is that Forgetting Sarah Marshall had a romantic center and extremely likable protagonists; Get Him to the Greek is like its bastard brother, still edgy but a lot less fun. Russell Brand, and subsequently Aldous Snow, is a dish best served in small samplings; as a lead character, he is more obnoxious than humorous. Hill is likable, but there's nothing driving his character, nothing to make the audience root for him. In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, we saw Jason Segel's character get dumped, find himself at a hotel with his ex-girlfriend and discover new love; in Get Him to the Greek, Hill has to get his assignment to a show. There's less of an emotional connection and commitment the audience needs to make, and as a result the movie feels more like a spattering of clever scenes than a complete story.
Despite its flaws, Get Him to the Greek boasts more than a few witty lines of dialogue and funny moments; it's undoubtable that Get Him to the Greek will grow to become a cult classic and get better with repeat viewings. It isn't as entertaining as some other Judd Apatow movies, but it's still a worthwhile comedy.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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