Get Him to the Greek
Directed by Nicholas Stoller
Starring Russell Brand, Sean Combs, Jonah Hill, Elisabeth Moss
Release date: June 4, 2010
Having been burned by spin-off’s and sequels in the past, I am not surprised that Get Him to the Greek wasn’t as good as it wanted to be. Or as good as I would have liked for it to be. It is another in a long list of movies that proves watching people have fun isn’t nearly as cool as having the fun yourself.
Aldous Snow (Russell Brand, in a reprise of his role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall) has fallen on hard times. The once successful front man for Infant Sorrow, one of the biggest bands in the world, is in the backlash stage of his career. His last album bombed, his wife left him, and as a result, he is back on drugs and alcohol. His record company, also in desperate need of a hit, decides to resurrect the band by putting on an anniversary concert to celebrate the band’s infamous show at the Greek Theatre ten years ago. Studio executive Sergio Roma (Sean “Diddy” Combs) puts intern Aaron Greenberg (Jonah Hill) in charge of going to London to bring Aldous back to L.A. for the show.
Maybe I just don’t get it, but Get Him to the Greek never sounded like a good idea. You have to really like a character to take him from supporting cast to main attraction. What I am surprised that more people don’t understand is that just because Brand shined in his scenes in Forgetting Sarah Marshall doesn’t mean he needs his own movie. The reason he worked so well the first time had less to do with the character he played, but more with his placement in that movie. Aldous Snow was the antithesis of Jason Segel’s character in every way. His part in the dynamic and what he represented was funnier than the character himself. I almost think Get Him to the Greek would have worked better as a standalone movie had Forgetting Sarah Marshall never existed, but that wouldn’t really have worked either. I found myself growing very tired of watching Aldous Snow. Stack on all the back story and motivation you want, but when it comes down to it, he’s just not that interesting. Or funny, for that matter.
That is not to say that it doesn’t have its share of moments. For all of its fumbling inconsistency, there are things about Get Him to the Greek that I actually enjoyed, the most surprising of which was Jonah Hill. When he’s given room to breathe without being relegated to the sidekick whose only purpose is to churn out an oddly placed joke, he’s actually… you know, funny.
Combs’ record executive shared some of the movie’s funniest moments but it was really more about the fact that it was Combs playing him. That was the joke, not whatever he happened to have been saying. And for as much as I enjoyed watching it, in the back of my mind I kept thinking that Tom Cruise did it a lot better two years ago in Tropic Thunder.
The fatal flaw that plagues Get Him to the Greek is its design. The concept of the spin-off itself is a cheat. It says to me, “We made this one movie that had this one character in it that you liked and now we are going to build a whole new movie around that character, so like it too.” I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t cut it. It stands to reason that if the character you are basing your new material from was so great the first time around, it wouldn’t have been in a supporting capacity.
Get Him to the Greek is not this year’s answer to The Hangover no matter how much it wants to be. It’s not even this year’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Those movies earned their keep. As far as spin-offs go, it’s not quite Evan Almighty-bad, but it still begs the question: Why can’t people just leave well enough alone?