We all remember Aldus Snow in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and his hip gyrations, unbelievable one-liners and of course, his Hawaiian shirt. Even though Brand stole the movie, one doesn’t usually expect spin-offs to work (anyone remember Joey?). Yet this is forty million dollar gamble paid off, proving that Aldus Snow can hold his own as more than just a secondary character. However, comedic timing and funny scenes don’t make a movie.
Get Him To The Greek follows young aspiring record producer, Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) as he attempts to handle out of control rock-star Aldus Snow (Russell Brand) and get him from London to Los Angeles for a huge concert at the Greek Theatre in three days.
Picking up sometime after Forgetting Sarah Marshall, writer/director Nicholas Stoller gives us a little more background on Aldus this time around. The successful rock star is still sober and has been in a monogamous (and by monogamous, we mean he tells his girlfriend when he cheats on her) relationship for seven years with Jackie Q (Rose Byrne) and has a son with her. When his single “African Child” bombs, Aldus falls off the wagon and loses everything. This concert is the only way for him to get his life back.
Once again, we cannot help but fall in love with Brand’s obnoxious, self-involved, narcissistic character. As we learn even more about Aldus, he becomes vulnerable while still keeping the edge that makes him the guy we all want to party with. We get the Aldus Snow we desired when walking out of Forgetting Sarah Marshall two years ago, a multi-layered authentic characters we can not only laugh at, but also feel a sort of empathy for.
Jonah Hill’s new character is much more of a straight man than in his past works, but still has his own moments. We meet Aaron Green when he’s at a crossroads in his relationship with his doctor girlfriend, Daphne (Elizabeth Moss). She wants to move to Seattle for residency and fails to remember that Aaron’s job is in Los Angeles. The two break up and the combination of heartbreak and Aldus Snow is enough to send Aaron on a drug-induced transcontinental sexual pilgrimage.
And to keep up with the pattern, the scene-stealer in this movie was none other than Sean Combs, playing, well, himself: a rapper turned family-man and owner of a large label. Combs holds his own with proven comedic geniuses Brand and Hill. Hopefully, Diddy can begin to conquer the film industry as well; it’d be great to see more of him.
Though the acting was impeccable and the jokes were brilliant, the writing left something to be desired. Perhaps that something was Jason Segal. The film was incredibly episodic and at times felt more like a series of skits, albeit very funny skits, rather than a cohesive story. It should have followed the structure of a road trip movie, but felt more like an episode of SNL hosted by Russell Brand.
This episodic structure caused some inconsistencies in tone. One scene had the audience practically on the sticky theater floor while the next is a complete one eighty into a family drama. One minute we’re watching Jonah Hill trip on a “Jeffrey” and “stroke the furry wall” and the next we’re looking deep into Aldus’ relationship with his father.
As the movie comes to a close, what started out as an easy premise fails to leaves the viewer satisfied. We’re not given any closure to Snow’s character arc other than him remembering that he enjoys being a rock star. What about his father? The girlfriend he’s still in love with? His son? Snow’s demons are by no means conquered. Do these things no longer matter? Or is there a sequel in the works? God, I hope not. (See SATC2 review for reasons why filmmakers should quit while they’re ahead).
Aaron Green, on the other hand, seems to get everything he’s always wanted. He’s finally become a record producer and even found a way to do it from Seattle and hold onto his girl. But where was his arc? What changed for him and his girlfriend? Is an almost threesome with Aldus Snow enough to fix inherent relationship problems? Is the ability to get a celebrity from one place to another really enough to become a producer? The movie jumps from V to Z skipping W, X and most importantly, Y.
At the end of the day, Get Him To The Greek will have you doubled over laughing, but fails to develop funny jokes into a full narrative. It is definitely worth seeing for what it is, just maybe as a rental and not for $12.00.