Who’s In It: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Rose Byrne, Elisabeth Moss, Colm Meaney
The Basics: Record company intern Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) has three days to perform a simple task: get rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand, reprising his role from Forgetting Sarah Marshall) from London to Los Angeles for a live concert that will revive Aldous’s failed career, marking his big comeback after ten years on the celebrity D-list. The problem: Aldous himself, who’d rather drown his sorrows in a hedonistic lifestyle than get his act together. As the clock ticks, Aaron slowly gets Aldous closer to L.A., but sex, drugs, daddy issues, and Aldous’s love for his pop star ex (Rose Byrne) threaten to derail the entire journey.
What’s The Deal: Let’s get this out of the way: Russell Brand is kind of brilliant. Like, celebu-savant brilliant, especially when channeling the swagger, charisma, and glorious unwashedness of Jagger and Morrison and every other bad-boy rock star who ever lived all in one daft, shallow, but strangely prescient characterization. The problem is that what worked in small doses in Forgetting Sarah Marshall can't quite sustain itself in a feature-length buddy road comedy, especially one as haphazardly episodic as this. It doesn't help that some scenes seem to go on aggressively long in unrelenting pursuit of laughs that sometimes don't quite hit, or that writer-director Nick Stoller shoehorns in plenty of producer Judd Apatow's patented touchy-feely male bonding. Even as a mid-level raunchy comic bromance, however, Get Him to the Greek is just entertaining enough for a weekend movie date. Besides, what else are you going to see this week -- Marmaduke?
The Funny: A flashback to Aldous's disastrously offensive single, "African Child (Inside of Me)" and the accompanying music video that contributed to the ruin of his career. Aaron's encounter with a mythical party drug called "The Jeffrey." A sly, unexpected nod to Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Rose Byrne, who commits fully to her role as British pop star Jackie Q, Aldous's female counterpart and the long-lost love of his life.
The Standout: Sean "P. Diddy" Combs as Sergio, the scary record company exec who assigns Aaron to bring Aldous to the Greek Theatre. After watching all those episodes of Making the Band, we're pretty sure Diddy's as terrifying a boss in real life as he is here. (Did you see the one where he made the kids walk across Manhattan at night for some cupcakes??) Get Him to the Greek allows him to play with his public persona and set nightclubs on fire, chase frightened employees through hotels, and pop up in drug-induced hallucinations as a giant floating head. In other words, Diddy is to Get Him to the Greek what Russell Brand was to Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
The Biggest Surprise: Aldous Snow's songs aren't that funny. Sure, they have titles like "Bangers, Beans, and Mash" and "The Clap," but those gimmicks are best delivered in snippets, and not in the fuller-length musical performances that bog the film down. On the other hand, Jackie Q's raunchy hit singles ("Supertight," "Ring Round") are perfectly executed trashy pop numbers that would make Ke$ha drool with envy.