Get Him to the Greek

15

In 2008 Nicholas Stoller made his directorial debut with the rom-com Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Ironically enough, the only thing it will probably be remembered for Ė by the female population at least Ė is for being dandy Russell Brandís first big role in a major Hollywood release.

Not intent with merely looking a gift horse in the mouth, Stoller has clearly shoved his tongue down the back of said horseís throat and frenched the hell out of it, by making a spin-off flick completely devoted to Brandís character Aldous Snow.

Snow (Brand) is the archetypal rock star. Heís the sexy front man for his band Infant Sorrow, and clearly enjoys all the usual trappings of the job; you know, the whole sex and drugs thing. He thought he met the love of his life in fellow singing sensation Jackie Q (Rosie Byrne); so much so that he went on the wagon for her for seven years. However things come to a head between the pair whilst Snow promotes his latest adventure in music ďAfrican ChildĒ. Unfortunately for Snow, the single bombs, which self-destructs both his relationship and career.

Meanwhile, Aaron (Jonah Hill), a lowly talent scout for Pinnacle Records, suggests to his boss Sergio (Sean Combs) that a gig at LAís Greek Theatre, where Snow triumphed ten years earlier, would make the perfect venue for an anniversary gig for Snow. Sergio agrees and puts Aaron in charge of looking after Snow until the gig happens.

Aaron is initially jubilant at the idea of working with one of his musical heroes. What he doesnít count on however, is coping with Snowís drug and alcohol dependency issues that have resurfaced from Jackie Q giving him the elbow for being a bit of a drug-free dullard.

Aaron has a matter of days to get Snow from London to New York for a TV interview, and then onto the gig itself. But with Snow looking to rekindle his relationship with booze and drugs, Aaron has a sneaky suspicion that heís not in for an easy ride in the next 72 hours.

Get Him to the Greek
Oh shit, look at that, our careers are gonna crash!

So, there you have it: a road movie. Not only would it be lazy to also call it a buddy movie, but also inaccurate. Initially at least, Brand and Hill show early promise of a heartfelt relationship developing between the pair. But as the story progresses, thereís never any real spark between the two leads. In fact it feels more competitive than supportive; Brand dishes up his one-liner and Hill counters. With no bond between the two, it makes it even more difficult for an audience to care for either one of them.

Brand does little wrong, but in a role thatís virtually semi-biographical, thatís not really saying much. Hill has got the cuddly geek thing down to a tee, but loses any sympathy you might have for him when he cheats on his hard-working girlfriend Daphne, played by Mad Menís Elisabeth Moss.

Sean Combs Ė the P Diddy himself Ė certainly doesnít do his adventures in acting any harm as the tough record label boss. And when you finally recognise Rosie Byrne (Damages), youíll be blown away by not only the fact that she can crack a smile and look good not wearing a suit, but that it appears she can also turn her hand to comedy pretty well.

There are some laughs to be had along the way, but unfortunately the film thinks itís far funnier than it really is. It gets a little too cute with music industry in-jokes and cameos, and really pads the plot out when it tries to flesh out Snowís family history, including a pointless encounter with his Dad (Colm Meaney) in Las Vegas. You can tell this is a desperate attempt to inject some heart, but all you get at the end of it is more drug and booze gags.

Despite being produced by Judd Apatow, this is a million miles away from his earlier hit Superbad. Sadly itís yet another Apatow-comedy-by-numbers production, which is predictable and soulless in equal measures. Brandís Snow didnít rock our world the first time around and this solo tour certainly hasnít changed our minds. Letís just pray he wonít be making a comeback anytime soon.

three out of five