Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #270
Number of Views: Three
Release date: June 4, 2010
Country of Origin: United States
Box Office: $91,261,479
Running time: 114 minutes
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Screenplay: Nicholas Stoller
Characters: Jason Segel
Producers: Judd Apatow, Joshua Blake, Nicholas Stoller, David Bushell, Rodney Rothman
Cinematography: Robert Yeoman
Score: Lyle Workman
Editing: William Kerr, Michael Sale
Studios: Relativity Media, Spyglass Entertainment, Apatow Productions
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Stars: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Elisabeth Moss, Rose Byrne, Sean Combs, Colm Meaney, Kali Hawk, Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, Ellie Kemper, Jake Johnson, Karl Theobald, Carla Gallo, T. J. Miller, Lino Facioli, Kristen Schaal, Kristen Bell, Dinah Stabb, Lenny J. Widegren
Suggested Audio Candy:
T. Rex 20th Century Boy
At least once in most of our life cycles we will dream of living the ‘rock star lifestyle’. Fast food, faster women and, if we’re truly to be remembered, then an untimely death at twenty-seven. That’s the way to measure your success. However, it isn’t always what the brochure forecasts. Behind closed doors, with the paparazzi nowhere to be found, these icons are no different from you and I. They laugh, cry, ejaculate and empty their bowel just as regularly as the next man and often those long tours on the road take their toll and loneliness creeps in. Sure, their lifestyle affords them certain advantageous options, particularly monetary, but in true rock star form they often fritter away their wealth and end up on reality TV shows years later, desperate to claw back their popularity at the expense of any dignity. Aldous Snow is one such rock Jehovah.
“Time to get our mind-fuck on”
Get Him To The Greek is not going to appeal everyone’s palate. Straight out the blocks there is one factor which will likely put-off many potential addressees. Russell Brand, that affable nitwit from England who somehow managed to take his circus on the road and reinvent himself Stateside using the exact same toolkit which he used to bludgeon the British into submission. Many folk take exception to the cantankerous swine and refuse point-blank to partake in anything which has his scent upon it. This saddens me, while it is understand that he is something of a bearded Marmite, he is also observant, intelligent and criminally funny to boot. He fares best with audiences when taking to the silver screen and, in Nicholas Stoller’s underrated road trip comedy, he is given center stage. If that has you reaching for the eject button then I pity you as Get Him to The Greek is pure comedy gold.
“I have to sneeze… and I’m afraid that if I do… my bowels will evacuate”
He shares the screen with the larger than life Jonah Hill. The obnoxious undersexed teen from Superbad has done rather well for himself, earning Oscar nominations for his supporting roles in both Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street and showing the world there is more than just the single string to his bow. He acts as the perfect foil for Brand’s raucous rocker, inciting belly laughs by the gutful in the process. He plays an earnest record label intern sent to the land of tea and crumpets to retrieve the wayward Snow and deliver him safely to a comeback gig at the Greek theater in L.A. His brief is simple, he must get this fallen angel there on-time and in one piece. With Brand playing the cargo you just know the shenanigans will be ‘interesting’.
“What you did was very spiteful, but it was also very brave and very honest and I respect you for doing that. But the content of what you said has made me hate you. So there’s a layer of respect, admittedly, for your truthfulness, but it’s peppered with hate. Hateful respect”
Get Him to The Greek is actually a spin-off of characters already made known in Stoller’s previous movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Both our leads appeared there and the scenes they shared obviously showed enough promise to create this spin-off. Brand’s character is plucked straight out of the Hawaiian resort, whereas Hill’s appearance is more of a happy accident. The two share visible chemistry as the awkward Aaron learns how to become more comfortable in his skin and Aldous learns that the life he is leading is not all it’s cracked up to be. However, as formidable a pairing as the two stars assume, the real find here comes from the most unlikeliest of sources.
Pharrell Williams: You’re five zippers away from “Thriller”
Sergio Roma: Oh, and you’re one shirt away from Carlton, motherfucker
Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy aka P. Diddy is the last person you would expect to give a nitroglycerin-fused comedic performance but somehow he provides just that. As tyrannical hard-nosed music executive Sergio Roma he is simply delightful, tough and uncompromising on one hand whilst gloriously off the wall on the other. He simply steals virtually every scene that he cohabits and gets a lion’s share of the film’s funniest lines to boot. By the time the infamous Jeffrey scene is upon us, we would be advised to empty our bladder satchels as it reaches its absolute pinnacle, culminating in one of those precious comic crescendos that YouTube was invented for. Colm Meaney is also superb in this instance as Snow’s emotionally bankrupt father.
Dexys Midnight Runners Come on Eileen
However, like Brand himself, should you dig a little deeper then you will find surprising sweetness amidst the exuberant comedy. Aaron’s faltering relationship with medical intern Daphne (Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss), and Aldous’ continuous fixation with estranged soul mate and petulant pop diva Jackie Q (Rose Byrne) are both placed under the microscope and their own relationship gently blossoms as their worlds continue to collide. It’s no less than we have come to expect from any production falling under the Judd Apatow umbrella, at nearly two hours long, many films would be at risk of wearing out their welcome mat but that is never the case with an Apatow feature. This is just as well observed, heartfelt and still gut-bustingly funny as any other from his long list of greatest hits but focuses on outright anarchy for the most part as that’s what Rock & Roll entails.
“This is it, Aaron. This is rock n’ roll. Did you enjoy the party?”
I totally bought Snow as a faded rock star and this is largely because, in reality, this is exactly how Brand perceives himself. He is imperious, calculating, and has one finger precariously hovering over the self-destruct button at all times, but is, in fact, far smarter than he initially appears and infinitely likable once you look past the trashed hotel rooms and excessive debauchery. He also manages to convince us as to his authenticity as a plummeting rock behemoth and numerous cameos from Pink, Christina Aguilera, Lars Ulrich and Pharrell Williams amongst others help to sweeten the deal. It could be accused of being puerile at times but, all things considered, isn’t that what rock stars are. I’m sure Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood sit there farting, occasionally involuntarily by this point, in each other’s company. It was probably one of these aging blighters who invented the term ‘dutch oven’ in the first place.
“When the world slips you a Jeffrey, stroke the furry wall”
Beneath the veneer of raunchy slapstick on exhibit exists a genuinely likeable movie. There is no film better suited to Brand’s comic sensibilities and much of the persona you will see on-screen is very much a part of his own reality. Whether or not you glean enjoyment from his exploits depends largely on whether you’re able to accept him warts et all. Should you overlook his initially overbearing character and take a look at the world through his eyes, then you may well find one of your favorite all-time comedies.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 8/10
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