Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Get Him to the Greek - Home Video Review

Release Date: June 4, 2010

Review Vital Stats:
Format: Blu-ray
Player: LG Model 370
Picture Quality: High-Definition
Sound Quality: High-Definition

Loves: Rose Byrne
Likes: Judd Apatow films/productions
Neutral: Russell Brand, Jonah Hill
Hates: Drugs used as a comedy crutch.

I missed this film in theaters for a number of reasons, the first being that there was just a lot more out there that interested me. I wasn't looking for another Hangover movie which this clearly was attempting to be (the spirit of that movie, not the plot). Secondly I have recently began to feel a little overloaded by the Judd Apatow movie making machine and this didn't appear to be doing anything different than any of his previous productions. The third and biggest reason is the cast, most notably Jonah Hill and Russell Brand. Neither of those two would get me into a theater to see a movie they individually starred in let alone one where they are both the primary actors.

So, what was it that finally made me take the plunge? Well, to be honest I was just browsing my local video store and was looking for something a little light hearted and that wouldn't ask too much of me mentally. That is when I came across it on the shelf and figured what the hell so I picked it up. I put it in the player and sat down ready to hate every minute of what I was about to see. A funny thing happened though...Jonah Hill was on screen and I wasn't hating him...Russell Brand showed up and I didn't feel the urge to eject the disc...Sean (P. Diddy) Combs was even in it and he was actually funny. As much as it pains me, I actually liked this film with two of my least favorite actors.

Aldous Snow is your stereotypical British rock star.
It wasn't the storyline that got me into the film, as a matter of fact the story is pretty dam shallow. You have a man, Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) that is tasked by his boss Sergio (Sean Combs) to bring over a washed out, has been rock star by the name of Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), lead singer of the band Infant Sorrow. He is told straight up by Sergio that this will not be easy and that he must "Mindf**k" Aldous in order to control him or else things will end badly for him. Aaron then embarks on this journey to get Aldous Snow back to L.A. and to the Greek Theater in 3 days time.

The films plays out over those next 3 days as Aaron tries everything he can to get the reluctant Aldous to his concert while Aldous tries everything he can to not get there. It is your classic battle of wits & willpower with Aaron being the stiff lipped, yuppie handler type and Aldous trying to break him down. Aaron must endure such things as being intoxicated by multiple drugs and alcohol all at once, used as a mule to stowaway drugs in his nether regions, sodomized and raped by an Infant Sorrow fan, and possibly losing the woman he loves all while trying to save his career and tame the wild and consequence free Aldous Snow.

Aaron trying to act happy despite Aldous abusing him every chance he gets.
Jonah Hill and Russell Brand make a fairly good pair and think that is why the film works as well as it does. Hill is not playing his usual angry and upset-all-the-time character. He is somewhat reserved here (most of the time anyway) and I like him like that. Whenever he goes into Superbad mode and becomes an insufferable jerk I just get turned off right away. I am probably one of the very few people out there that absolutely hated his character in Superbad and that is just because I found him to be just a rude dude. He has great comedic timing in general but not when he plays his roles like that.

Now, Russell Brand is a different situation all together. Here is a guy that started out playing one type of character and has now brought that same exact character to a larger role. I am still unsure if I like him as an actor. Sure, he is funny doing this part and it fits him perfectly but I have to wonder if there is anything else there. He plays off Hill great, the two of them have this nice balance that I really liked but I can't see myself sitting through an entire film with Brand doing this same character all by himself. Let's just say that the jury is still out on him for me at the moment.

I don't think Aaron is scratching an itch with that missing hand...
So yeah, the two leads in the film are for the most part a good fit for the film and for each other, but what about the supporting cast? I last saw Sean Combs in the Jon Jon Favreau film Made and thought he showed a lot of promise as an actor but I never thought he could do comedy this well. Every scene with him in it had me cracking a smile. His line delivery is nothing special but his mannerisms and facial expressions were spot on. When he explains the theory of the "Mindf**k" to Aaron it is priceless. He also played a bigger role than I thought he would, he was sprinkled all throughout the film and shows up just at the right time for some good laughs.

OK, here is the real curiosity for me...when the hell did Rose Byrne get attached to this film? I went into this not knowing she was in it all and low and behold she is just not in the film but she plays a pivotal role as well. She plays Jackie Q, Aldous Snow's ex-wife/girlfriend. She is mostly known for all her dramatic work but for this has decided to cut loose and it seems like she is having the time of her life here. I applaud any actor for stepping outside their shell and I have to admit that as much as I liked her before as an actress I now absolutely adore her. Check out one of her music videos from the film at the end of this review.

Sergio attempts to mindf**k the talent.
Not all is perfect in Greek-land however and these are more or less personal preferences as opposed to actual problems with the film. I am not a huge fan of films that use narcotics and/or alcohol to get their laughs. Now, this is not become I am some holier-than-thou Christian nut or anything, it's because I find it sort of lazy and it has been done so.....many.....times before. I loved stuff like Half Baked and Grandma's Boy but that same mentality didn't work for me with this film. And I believe that is because here it is used as a crutch to solve problems and get people out of less than ideal situations.

Take for instance every scene where Aaron must get Aldous to a certain location at a certain time, how does Aldous try to prevent this from happening...by getting Aaron either drunk or high. Then that gets reversed and the only way for Aaron to prevent Aldous from doing something he shouldn't he must then get drunk and high himself. It comes to a head when they arrive in Vegas where everybody gets drunk and high which is all part of Sergio's mindf**k technique. I am not saying that some of the stuff there isn't funny (the stroking of the furry wall is hilarious) but yet again it is a problem solved by getting somebody drunk or high and by that time I was kind of tired of it.

Aaron is about to make a new friend.
Don't get me wrong here though, there is plenty of funny bits to be found throughout the film. While I may take issue with how some of those laughs are found it doesn't mean they aren't enjoyable. One of my favorite and more understated moments in the film is at one of their airport visits where Aaron is forced to place some heroin up his rectum. His comment to Aldous "Why are you doing this to me?", is both sad and hilarious because he has no idea why he is being forced to do such things. That combined with him trying to sneeze without shooting the drugs out and the resulting tug-of-war between he and Aldous later was one of funnier set ups in the film I thought.

Then you have one of the most uncomfortable scenes I have had the pleasure of viewing in quite some time. Skip ahead if you don't want the "surprise" ruined.When Aaron confronts his girlfriend about all the promiscuous things he had been doing during his trip and Aldous shows up at their apartment. I have to admit that the last thing that entered my mind was that they would all resolve their issues with a proper threesome right then and there but it still happened regardless. While it is played for laughs mostly I still felt uneasy with what I was seeing, which is a feeling Aaron clearly shares. I guess it was somewhat bothersome because you saw earlier how happy Aaron and his girlfriend were that it was pretty horrible seeing how Aldous was ruining Aaron's personal life as well as his professional one.

What's this? Aaron drunk and high...? No way, not in this film.
Then ending in particular felt a little to tidy in my opinion. Everyone's problems were pretty much resolved by the end and given the situation I just mentioned above it didn't feel quite right how quickly they all treated it as water under the bridge. I suppose it is possible for people to forgive one another for the horrible things they have done if they love each other enough but when the film depicts in great detail the fall of both Aaron and Aldous over the course of 3 days time and then it suddenly skips ahead six months showing them all living happily ever after, well....it just didn't feel right. It still works overall but I would have liked to see them actually resolve the problems each has created for themselves as opposed to being told they did six months ago.

This film made me laugh and I guess that means mission accomplished. On top of that it gave me hope for the future careers of both Jonah Hill and Russell Brand which isn't what I expected when going into this. I can't say that I will be revisiting the film any time soon or/if at all. There were moments here that I will remember for a long time to come but I think I will seek out laughs elsewhere when given the choice. Although I did get to see not one, but two music videos with Rose Byrne singing about anal sex and how super tight she is...Rose Byrne rocks! That being said I would have to say...


Get Him to the Greek (2-Disc Unrated Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]


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