Friday 25 June 2010

Review: Get Him to the Greek

Year: 2010
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Screenplay: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Sean Combs

The synopsis is here.

Me and my girlfriend have very different opinions on movies. Her favorite movie is the Notebook/Serendipity, whereas I bum almost everything that has the name Paul Thomas Anderson on it. She will never EVER watch a zombie film while I own several in my collection. There are times where our views on movies cause clashes. I didn't want to speak to her after her analysis of Annie Hall was merely "it's ok...not that great". Now all fair in love and cinema...and I can take a differing opinion, but don't bring that to the table when I know you watch the hills... Anyway, despite our tastes we both came out of separate viewings of Get him to the Greek (I went straight out of work, she was catching up with a friend) feeling the same thing: I laughed a lot.

I enjoyed Forgetting Sarah Marshall but a spin off of the one note Brit Rock Star character? With Jonha Hill as the straight guy? And Sean "P Diddy/Puff Daddy" Combs in a large acting role? GET OUTTA HERE! I remember hearing about the film a while back not holding out hope.

The afrofilmviewer enjoys a good shock from time to time and this hilarious (I embarrassed myself with laughter again - see Four Lions) movie was one of the biggest shocks of the year for me. It's a movie that I personally couldn't have seen work, that worked. A film I immediately wanted to own straight after watching. Yes it's as vulgar as that piece of crap MacGruber which I watched a week ago, the difference here however is simple: Character, Comic Timing and a strong grasp of the material it's drawing from.

Coming off like warped mixture of Planes, Trains and Automobiles meets Spinal Tap (with more puke), Get him to the Greek gets it's laughs with cheap pops at the music industry, vulgar man-child humor and a sticky situation that gets increasingly more bizarre and harder to manage. While that doesn't sound that interesting, it's the likability of the double act in front of me that spurred on. The worse the circumstance becomes, the more I wanted to see what these guys would do with what's handed to them. It's that element that was missing for me from recent viewings (Death at a Funeral, the aforementioned MacGruber).

Brand's Snow is an acerbic and corrosive personality with a hidden sensitivity that always plays well in these Apatow productions, while Hill's Arron is the straighter of the two but is running on the fumes of a mere mortal. He's no way use to the heights of excess on display here. It's simple, but it binds well. Brand doesn't need to stretch any complex acting muscles but he did have to win myself over as an engaging Rock Star who really believes he's worth his weight in gold as well as a man to hang out with. Extending the one note (but amusing) role that was placed in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Brand gives the role more than enough charm and energy to keep the film from going stale. For Hill, it's great to see him in a less combustible role (see Superbad). He does the straight role well and hints that he could probably handle something a bit more dramatic as well as his slapsthick here.

Did I say combustible? Great. It would be a good word to describe the role of Sergio Roma played by Sean "Puffy" Combs. He isn't the worlds greatest actor, however, his stilted delivery and stiff performance gives the character of Roma a life of it's own. In the world that's as aware as Strollers (Writer/Director) with amusing asides to the original film this was a spin off of, the use of P Diddy in a nutjob CEO role with most if not all the best lines/ just works. The man behind shiny suit rap throwing crockery at Colm Meany while laughing manically? I can dig it.

If I were to say there's a down side to the proceedings? I'd say that the film is a bit obvious. It's clear that they didn't have mine hard for jokes. Some lines tried hard while others clearly don't . I mean the two Metallica jibes (due to a cameo) really didn't take much brain power. Get him to the Greek's timing and execution however were more than effective enough for me. I loved the cheap shots and the vulgarity because the director and actors knew how to wear them on their sleeves. I haven't mentioned too much of the films gags here. But like reading the airplane script it's best not reading them but seeing them in action. It won't gain the "classic" status of Spinal Tap...but it is because it would rather hang out with Farrellys. It's good to be wrong.