Friday, June 4, 2010

Hill and Brand get laughs in "Greek"



Get Him to the Greek (2010)
109 min., rated PG-13
Grade: B

The “him” in Get Him to the Greek is Aldous Snow, Russell Brand's hedonistic, narcissistic Brit-pop singer from 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall, reprising the role in this spin-off. (With the exception of Kristen Bell's Sarah Marshall cameo, Snow is the only returnee.)

Jonah Hill, a weight-reverse from Seth Rogen in Funny People, essays a different character than his small role in Marshall. He's Aaron, a record company intern, who by the orders of his boss, Sergio Roma (Sean “P. Diddy” Combs), has 72 hours to get the hard-partying Aldous from London to New York, to appear on “Today,” and then on to Los Angeles, where he's scheduled to do a comeback concert at the Greek Theater.

Hill and Brand are engaging personalities and make Get Him to the Greek, from producer Judd Apatow's factory, a lot of fun to watch, and writer-director Nicholas Stoller knows how to deliver the funny with the raunch. Hill varies his adolescent motormouth and underplays a bit, and Brand does his preening shtick and Cockey singsong again but he's hilarious and human. And Rose Byrne and Elizabeth Moss do a balanced, non-shrilly job of playing Aaron and Aldous's loves, a prickly nurse and a sobering-up performer, Jackie Q.

The opening satirical exposes on Aldous, including his critically lambasted video for his latest album bomb, “African Child,” are a scream, and some of the good jokes rely on your knowledge of pop culture (including Harry Potter cast members).

There's one frantically raucous, hilarious sequence involving a loaded joint called “Jeffrey,” adrenaline, and the stroking of soft fur. Some of the substance-abuse partying and throwing up gets repetitive, and Aldous's guilt complex and issues gets into dark, heartfelt human drama but serve the story well because not only do we get a kick out of the antics, we actually give a damn.

While not perfect (Stoller could've gotten a little more trim-happy), Get Him to the Greek is one of the funnier commercial comedies so far.

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