Synopsis - [spoiler] A record company intern is hired to accompany out-of-control British rock star Aldous Snow to a concert at L.A.'s Greek Theater.- IMDB[/spoiler]
We were first introduced to Russell Brand’s out-of-control rock star Aldous Snow in 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, where he hilariously appeared as the love rival to Jason Segel’s recently-dumped protagonist Peter. While Brand’s role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall was relatively small, and asked very little of him in the way of acting, writer/director team Segel and Nicholas Stoller give him centre stage in Get Him to the Greek, in this, less sequel, more spin-off, to the 2008 comedy.
While my expectations of Brand were high after his handling of the role in Sarah Marshall, where he played a rather exaggerated version of himself, he generally failed to impress in this first attempt at a major role. Snow is a role suited to the flamboyant, ex-heroin and sex-addicted, dandy from Essex, whose stand-up and Ponderland shows I absolutely adore, so it was disappointing when he overacted the part. After Brand bombing as host of the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, it is perhaps understandable that the movie’s producers were keen to edge away from his recognizable humour and mannerisms, but, to me, this fell short of the mark; Snow as a character is not far enough away from Brand himself to merit a response praising impressive acting, nor close enough to encourage the kind of hysterical laughter we are used to with his usual antics. In my opinion, Brand should stick to what he knows, and perhaps take a leaf out of one of our other national comical treasures, Ricky Gervais’, book, who has basically made a living out of constantly re-dressing David Brent.
Similarly, the film as a whole seemed to be lacking something, which stopped it just short of being a fantastic comedy. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments that left me crying with laughter (see ‘Geoffrey and furry walls’ scene, and Snow’s snidey comeback to a certain heavy-metal drummer), but there was no consistency in the humour. It seemed to sit on the fence between cracking farcical comedy (a la The Hangover and Superbad), and sentimental, yet light-hearted drama. While rom-coms pull this off all the time, Get Him to the Greek just couldn’t get the mix right, and any attempt at tragedy or emotional engagement left me feeling rather flat with the whole experience.
It wasn’t all bad, however, and the upsides included some fantastic cameos (of which P Diddy was NOT one) and an excellent selection of pop-culture references, some rather more obsure than others; see aforementioned drummer comment and the best introduction to prog supergroup The Mars Volta ever. Jonah ‘Superbad’ Hill also played his role of the responsible record company chaperone being led astray by Snow down to a tee, not disappointing but not particularly shining either.
In all, Get Him To The Greek is a fun, pretty harmless piece of entertainment, but don’t expect a laugh-a-minute, as you’ll have plenty of time to rest between the sporadic aisle-rolling hysteria.