How Bad Could It Be?: The Road of Excess Leads to the Palace of...Whatever

on November 02, 2010 by Steve Simels

get_him_to_the_greek.jpgWell, I finally got around to watching Universal's deluxe DVD edition of Get Him to the Greek, the 2010 comedy starring Jonah Hill cast against type (not!) as a loveable twenty-something shlub and Russell Brand recycling his over-the-hill 80s rock star character from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I missed this one in the theaters, mostly because I wasn't all that amused by Brand's act the first time around, but I've been a fan of Hill's since Superbad, and I have a huge and utterly inappropriate thing for toothsome co-star Rose Byrne. Plus Star Trek's always reliable Colm Meaney, as Brand's apple-doesn't-fall-far-from-the-tree dad, and the winsome Elizabeth Moss (brilliant, for the last four seasons, as Peggy on Mad Men) are in there as well, so I figured it probably deserved a look.

You know -- how bad could it be?

The plot (courtesy of the DVD box, the IMDB and a few other questionable sources):

Spoiled and self-indulgent 80s rocker Aldous Snow (Brand) tries to reignite his career with a hideously stupid concept album featuring the single "African Child". Widely and accurately derided as the worst thing to happen to black people since Apartheid, both flop; his girlfriend (Byrne) leaves him, taking custody of their son, and Brand responds by going on a drink and drugs bender of epic proportions, even by his debased standards. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Aaron Green (Hill) is an idealistic young college graduate who works as a low-level talent scout at Pinnacle Records, an industry giant fallen on hard times. Pinnacle's CEO Sergio Roma (Sean "Diddy" Combs,  hilarious for about the first three minutes) likes Green's idea -- have Snow play a concert at the Greek Theatre on the tenth anniversary of a particularly famous performance -- and sends the kid to London to retrieve the out-of-control rocker. And if Green doesn't deliver him, sober and stage-ready, within 72 hours, he can kiss his job -- and probably his long-suffering girlfriend (Moss)  -- goodbye. Will Brand see the folly of his ways? Will the kid get him to the show on time? Is there balm in Gilead? Hey -- why are you asking me?

Here's the trailer to give you an idea of how the whole thing feels while it's playing out.

And the answer to our earlier question is -- not terrible, but not more than fitfully entertaining. Basically, it comes down to how much patience or affection you have for Brand's parody of an early MTV era hair-metal star, and given that the real thing is pretty much an unconscious parody by definition -- which is to say if you still have a soft spot for Motley Crue or Poison you probably need to have it looked at -- the whole enterprise plays like an SNL skit unwisely expanded to feature film length. The inside show-biz stuff aside, the rest of GHTTG is mostly another careerist, potty-mouthed version of The Sorrows of Young Werther, i.e., a run-of-DeMille product of L'Ecole de Judd Appatow, and as such, a matter of taste. That said, the aforementioned Meany is quite funny as an older but equally clueless member of the Snow clan, and it's nice to see Moss out of period drag for a change. Universal's DVD version of this comes with more extras -- deleted scenes, gag reels, full versions of the music videos and concert scenes excerpted in the film -- than anybody with a day job will ever have time to sit through, but on the tech level, the whole thing looks and sounds state-of-the-art, so enjoy, if you're so inclined.

Which is to say you can -- and I won't dislike you if you do -- order Get Him to the Greek over here.

Tags: Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Russell Brand, Jonah Hill

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