Get Him to the Greek isn’t exactly a sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but it brings back that film’s most memorable character, Aldous Snow, played brilliantly by Russell Brand.
In Sarah Marshall, Aldous is a famous English rock superstar who just so happens to be sleeping with the main character’s girlfriend. Despite all that, he remains likeable and even becomes friends with his rival.
Fast forward a few years and Aldous has become a washed-up drug addict on a downward spiral of self-destruction. His career is stagnant and his latest single, the cliché socially conscious “African Child”, has been labeled the worst thing to happened to Africa since apartheid.
Enter lowly record label employee Aaron Green (Jonah Hill). As a longtime fan of Aldous and his band Infant Sorrow, Aaron proposes an idea to his boss Sergio (Sean “P. Diddy” Combs) to revive Aldous’ career with an anniversary performance at the Greek Theater. He is given 72 hours to get Aldous to the gig in order to make points with Sergio.
What follows is a series of insane parties, drug binges, and anonymous sexual encounters that throw the reserved and nerdy Aaron into the wild world of rock and roll.
It may sound like a cliché plot, but the sheer comedic power of Brand and Hill take Greek to the next level. The physical comedy and obvious jokes hit the target. When Aldous injects Aaron with adrenaline, “like in Pulp Fiction”, Hill elevates what could be dumb and slapstick into a hilariously engaging episode.
Even better than the bigger jokes, the small throw-away lines—many of which are likely improved—make for some of the funniest moments in the film. Aldous’ “hateful respect” for Aaron after a harsh criticism of his record is classic Brand. In another scene when Aaron talks to his doctor girlfriend (Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss) he chastises her for her holier-than-thou attitude by reminding her that not all doctors are good and that Nazis had doctors too.
Most surprising is the spectacular comedic turn from Combs. Making the Band has showed us that Combs can be quite the moody executive—having contestants walk to Brooklyn to fetch him a slice of cheesecake comes to mind—and this role perfectly parodies that persona.
To prepare Aaron for babysitting Aldous, Sergio gives him lessons in how to “mind fuck” someone. The exchange between Hill and Combs is both awkward and hilarious, and seems like an authentic moment between an exec with too much power and one of his whipping boy employees.
Still, Brand owns this movie. Unlike other comedies that attempt to send up the rock and roll lifestyle by dressing their stars up as wild rockers, like Rainn Wilson in The Rocker, Brand has the true swagger of a rock god. He’s charismatic, he’s sexy, he’s got unique style, and he has legitimate vocal talent. If the lyrics to the songs weren’t so funny, you would actually rush out to buy an Infant Sorrow CD.
It should come as no surprise that Greek is one of the funniest movies we can expect this summer. Producer Judd Apatow has loaded the cast with his usual comedic arsenal and Jason Segel’s original characters deserved life beyond Sarah Marshall. I, for one, am keeping my fingers crossed for Aldous Snow’s next come back tour.