Directed by Nicholas Stoller
There’s no way I could start off this review without first mentioning the awesomeness that was “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, my favourite film of 2008. A movie so good I saw it three times in theatres. And each one of those viewings were vastly important to me as person, not simply because of the movie, but because of who I got to share my viewing experiences with. The first one was my first date with a girl who would quickly come to mean the world to me, the second was with a girl I had already been in love with for nearly a year, and the third was an inebriated laugh fest. (Oh, the joys of College.) And even to this day, with both of the aforementioned women completely out of my life, watching the film doesn’t make me sad, it still makes me laugh my ass off. And all of this is owed to Jason Segel. With “Sarah Marshall” he created the best comedy produced in the past two decades. So when I heard that the director of the film, Nicholas Stoller, and actors Russell Brand, and Jonah Hill, were gearing up to make a pseudo sequel to “Marshall” I was a little worried. Especially because no where in the credits did I see Segel’s name anywhere, save for Characters Created By. Well, after watching the film, I can safely say that this trio has managed to create a funny and entertaining movie, but one that still falls woefully short of the original.
The problems with “Get Him To The Greek” start immediately. The beginning of the film, a fifteen minute endless news reel cycle, just seems to keep going on and on. It’s obvious that it’s a device used purely as a form of exposition, showing how Aldous Snow’s character will be completely different from his appearance in “Marshall”, but it’s haphazard and hard to follow. There’s no clear arc that get’s Aldous from Sober to Drug Crazed, at least not one that makes any type of real sense. But, this is a comedy, so I was willing to buy into it all as long as the jokes were funny. The problem is that for the first half of the movie, they aren’t. At least, not very. The entire first half of the movie there is one genuine laugh that comes between Jonah Hill and Sean Combs talking about “Mind Fucking.” The joke comes in Jonah’s comment about safe sex. That was pretty damn funny. But after that moment, the film gets bogged down with trying to do far too much, both comically and physically, with moving the characters from one location to the next with no down time.
About halfway through the film, when Jonah is coerced into becoming a drug mule by both Aldous and Combs, the film kicks into next gear. There are some hilarious moments to be had from this time out. And even more amazingly there are a couple touching moments as well. This is important to mention because it’s something that “Sarah Marshall” did amazingly well. Not only was it one of the funniest movies ever, but it was extremely touching at times. In “Get Him to the Greek” Aldous’ realization of just how empty his life is, with the loss of his son, father, and friends is extremely well done and it all leads up to a fantastic scene in a pool. Russell Brand deserves a lot of credit for his acting in that scene. It may appear that he’s as emotionless as he always has been, but if you look into his eyes you can see a man struggling with a thousand different type of demons. I’m sure that Brand drew upon his own personal experiences to make that scene work. And I would be remiss if I did not mention the scene in the hotel room with the “Jeffery” joint. From the moment when Jonah Hill smokes it and everything that happens after, it’s one of the funniest scenes I have ever seen in a film. It’s not quite Jason Segel singing his love song about Dracula in a bar (“Die, die, die. I can’t.”) but it’s very damn close. I think that the smile on Russell Brand’s face as he and Jonah flee from Combs at the end of this scene is one of the most genuine expressions of glee I have ever seen on another human being. At least you can tell they had fun making this movie.
Overall “Get Him to the Greek” is a funny movie that is definitely worth checking out. Just don’t go in there expecting a new comedy classic. But at the end of the day, any Judd Apatow produced film is about 90% funnier than anything else in the cineplexes, so it’s hard to fault a movie that is genuinely entertaining, simply because it could have been more so.