Great comedic chemistry fuels bizarre Greek road trip
As Roscoe Lee Browne might have said, the first hazard for a
supporting character given their own movie is the extreme increase in screen time - the adulation
can spin them quite giddy.
It's similar to a film based on a Saturday Night Live character - you never know whether or not a character that's hilarious in five-minute segments will remain funny, or simply get annoying, when featured for most of 100.
The good news is that Aldous Snow - the fictional British rock star who stole several scenes in Forgetting Sarah Marshall - is just as delightful, bizarre and obliviously offensive as he was in a back-up role. There could be a string of films about Snow (played by comedian Russell Brand), and I don't think I'd ever get sick of the character.
The better news is that Get Him to the Greek is a wicked, wild, crazy ride, full of about as many unexpected twists and turns as one could expect from a road trip comedy since the genre itself is predictable (people have issues traveling from A to B as planned).
The film also stars Jonah Hill (Superbad) as Aaron Green, a young record company intern who is given the task of flying to London to make sure Snow gets to his anniversary concert at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles on time. Problem is, Snow finds parties, women and hallucinations much more appealing than punctuality.
I should probably note, before going any further, that Greek is a film that enjoys every ounce of its vulgarity, and some people will find this movie very offensive. But Snow, much like Jay from Clerks, seems to have no clue that almost everything he says would make your grandmother gasp before saying "Never have I ever ..."
Much like Jay, this quality is also one of his charms - we've all known someone who simply says whatever is on their mind and does whatever the hell they want to, and while you frequently find yourself shaking your head as they run recklessly with their latest hair-brained notion, you can't help but smile.
For Green, who is already having issues with his girlfriend, Daphne (Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men), attempting to control Snow is more than he can handle. Poor Green tries everything - logic, coercion, taking the metaphorical bullet - but Snow is a rock star, and he's going to do whatever he wants.
The results are poor for Green but absolutely hilarious - almost every scene of this film is funny. Not just chuckle funny, either - I'm talking teary-eyed, gut-busting hilarity. The banter between Green and Snow is fantastic - writer/director Nicholas Stoller's script is focused, smart and unrelenting - and the film is also full of great sight gags and witty zingers.
Scenes between Green and his boss, record mogul Sergio Roma (played by Sean "P. Diddy" Combs), also generate huge laughs. I've never seen Combs attempting comedy before and was impressed with his performance - he's got excellent comic timing and is brave enough to poke fun at himself.
Rose Byrne (TV's Damages), diverting wildly from her usual serious roles, also earns big laughs as Snow's pop-star ex-girlfriend, Jackie Q. Although her role is beyond ridiculous, she approaches the material genuinely, proving what I already knew as a fan of Damages: This is an actress that is going to make waves for years to come.
Above all, Greek is a fearless comedy that isn't afraid to tackle serious (even dark) issues along the way. I was caught off guard at how grim and awkward a couple scenes were and unsure of how to respond. Afterwards, however, I realized that scenes like these are what differentiate a hilarious comedy (like Billy Madison) from a funny comedy that is also a great film - a film that inspires thought and conversation. Greek succeeds on every level.
It is also another great comedy in a year that's shaping up to be great for comedies - Death at a Funeral and Hot Tub Time Machine were both witty, hilarious films, and it seems like Hollywood is finally getting the message from audiences that you can make a comedy people will love without dumbing it down or avoiding serious issues.
Get Him to the Greek is rated R for strong sexual content and drug use throughout, and pervasive language. It is currently playing at the Regal Cinema 7 in Boone.