Saturday, September 25, 2010

Film Yap: Get Him to the Greek

Comedy sequels are familiar, but comedy spin-offs are not. Forgetting Sarah Marshall was a very fun success and the breakout star was Russell Brand. Brand played the nemesis of Jason Segal’s character but was too cool to hate. In Get Him to the Greek, the plot is refocused towards the crazed rock star and it completely works.

Jonah Hill plays Aaron Green, an employee of a music label, who has to think of a great new idea for his boss Sergio (Sean Combs). He comes up with a 10-year anniversary concert of Aldous Snow at the Greek Theatre. So it’s up to Aaron to travel to England, get Aldous, take him to the Today Show in New York, and then back to Los Angeles for the concert. Everything will go wrong.

As expected, there are plenty of distractions as Aldous torments Aaron and takes him through every drug possible. There are montages of depravity and plenty of desperate pleas for sleep and sobriety. Brand’s humor and energy carries the film through unexpected directions.

Get Him to the Greek does not just end up being a raunchy road-trip comedy. For every memorable scene of insanity, there are poignant moments of humanity. The film shows the rock and roll lifestyle from the perspective of Aldous’s downfall. In this weekend of his life, the film shows his personal struggles with loneliness and failed relationships in regards to his father (Colm Meany) and his ex-girlfriend (Rose Byrne).

By having these tangents, writer/director Nicholas Stoller takes risks and challenges you to actually care about these characters. It ends up paying off really well even if it cramps the movie a little bit. It’s this approach to comedy that makes this movie special. It fits within the Judd Apatow label, but also works towards its own Stoller touch.

Stoller’s films know how to keep the comedy consistent but also have it derive from the characters, which makes it stronger. No one is just an archetype, especially the women. There hasn’t been a comedy in a long time that allows the women to have as much fun as the guys in this kind of R-rated movie. Byrne and Elisabeth Moss are known for their dramatic work on Damages and Mad Men but they are hilarious here. Byrne, in particular, is incredibly dirty and always matches wits with Brand.

She even sings three of the songs in the movie, including the blunt “Supertight.” Since the movie is revolved around music, they created a full album of songs for the characters. They raised the bar with the Infant Sorrow songs from Sarah Marshall: “I Want to Do Something” and “Inside of Me.” Greek continues the sexual innunedos with songs like “The Clap” and “Just Say Yes.” The best ones are the ones written by Jason Segal including the dirty but surprisingly sad “Bangers, Beans and Mash.” The soundtrack ends up being as successful as the film.

As if enough work wasn’t put into this film, the DVD is fantastic. There are two great documentaries of archival footage and processes into the film and the soundtrack. A fake documentary about making the infamous song “African Child.” There are places to sing karaoke to the songs from the film. Plenty of quality deleted scenes, alternate beginnings and endings, a commentary, and music videos. If you’re a fan of these comedians, the “Line-o-Rama” is brilliant because you see them improvising a ton of brilliant alternate lines to the movie. The only misstep is promoting an “Unrated Version” which is only four minutes more of material. From what I could tell, this only includes a new scene with the hilarious Aziz Ansari and Nick Kroll, a jogging scene and more furry walls.

Movie: 4.5 Yaps

Extras: 4.5 Yaps

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