Saturday, June 19, 2010


In 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall, director Nicholas Stoller’s debut film, one of the most memorable characters was Russell Brand as rocker Aldous Snow, a coarse and drug-addled delight who stole every scene he was in. For Stoller’s sophomore effort, Get Him to the Greek, Brand’s Snow gets a starring role in a film all his own. Of course, he shares it with Jonah Hill, who plays an employee of a record label. Boss Sean Combs sends Hill to London with the task of getting Snow to the Greek theater in Los Angeles in time to perform an anniversary concert in hopes of rebooting his career. The movie gets off to a hilarious start with a music video for Snow’s most recent album African Child, an album that is proclaimed to be “the worst thing to happen to Africa since Apartheid.” Spiraling out of control after the double setback of the failing album and a horribly public split with pop tart Jackie Q (a hilariously game Rose Byrne), Snow is a mess. Jonah Hill and Russell Brand have great chemistry, and the movie gets plenty of mileage out of the standard road-trip style looseness and goofiness. We’ve seen road trips before, but never with these characters. Eventually, the movie becomes a disconnected series of debauched episodes. The sense of a rush to get him to the Greek is almost entirely missing. This should be a madcap dash, but it’s too slack for that. It's often funny, but tinged with a colossal sense of disappointment. It could – it should – be so much funnier. Funny jokes are repeated until they aren’t and the one’s that weren’t funny to begin with are used even more often. Aldous Snow’s hilarious music is pushed to the side and attempts to deepen his character fall flat. The movie grows mushy, falling prey to the need for emotional growth. But the thing is, Hill and Brand are better antagonists than friends and I never bought that they grew close throughout their adventures. The romantic subplots are abused and mistreated, ultimately failing to create any sentimentality precisely because the female roles (not just Byrne’s, but also a small role for Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss as Hill’s girlfriend) are severely underwritten. This is a sloppy, aimless comedy that sometimes made me laugh, but ultimately left me feeling sour.

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