(2010) director Nicholas Stoller
Starring one of the more dubious and annoying comedians of the day and one of the more doubtful talents of the Judd Apatow universe, Get Him to the Greek really didn’t scream at me to come out and see it. It did, however, get some decent reviews, and after a run of horror films, a change of pace was due.
Russell Brand, an English comedian with rock star airs, plays an English rock star not entirely far from Brand’s regular comedic personality. The difference for his character is that he is still under the multiple influences of booze and drugs (whereas Brand himself is sober after a life of otherwise being perhaps like this character). And Jonah Hill, who first came to prominence in Apatow’s Superbad (2007), is the less likeable, less clearly talented comic actor of the bunch.
And Get Him to the Greek is largely flat. Hill plays a low-level music industry worker who gets a dream job of flying his hero, Brand, from London to New York to Los Angeles for a concert meant to revive his career. Brand’s boozing, reckless rock star, of course, only wants to party and leads Hill on an adventure of indulgence and excess, which is meant to be a hilarious, naughty sort of My Favorite Year (1982). The thing is that this film isn’t terribly funny and its sentimentality is telegraphed and obvious. It’s sophomoric at best.
And really, the worst thing about the movie is that the best thing about the movie is Sean “P. Diddy/Puff Daddy” Combs, who I really have disliked in general since I first heard of him. The thing is that Combs gets the best material, playing Hill’s employer, a music industry exec, a stone-faced professional who delivers lines about Gogurt or a fur-covered house with equal surprising oddness and contrast to his public persona. In other words, he’s quite funny, certainly the best thing about the film. And that he’s actually good, it only pains me to have to admit that he’s good.
Brand’s character originated in another Judd Apatow-produced comedy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), which I never did bother seeing. As much as I’ve enjoyed some of the Apatow comedies or a few other modern comedies, they often make me feel like I haven’t got a sense of humor to speak of.