Get Him To The Greek Review: Straight In At No.1..
We’ll admit that there have been more British Prime Ministers than there have been decent comedies this year, but even in such a poorly contested field Get Him To The Greek has set a marker for other films to emulate.
If this is not the funniest film of 2010, I will probably end up going to see the one that beats it at least three times while it’s in cinemas.
With the help of a superb cast, Nicholas Stoller has fashioned a painful rarity – a spin-off which is better than an original guise. Forgetting Sarah Marshall was a strong film in its own right, but where it tickled audiences, Get Him To The Greek floors us with its brilliant stupidity – this is pedal-to-the-metal comedy which never drags and fires one-liners with such frequency that we are barely able to recover.
Yet despite all the wacky set-pieces and clever jokes, it is a well-gelled cast which pulls the whole thing together. Jonah Hill and Russell Brand are a scarily effective double-act and the American’s deadpanning compliments the conventional exhuberance and natural comic ability of the Essex stand-up perfectly. Incidentally it would come as no surprise to hear that Brand had a hand in some of his own lines – his contributions often bear the wonderfully tangible ring of his individual work. Even Brand can be upstaged though, and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs (that’s Puff Daddy to you and me) turns in a refreshingly hilarious performance here, particularly when his character starts talking about his obsession with ‘mind-f**king’ people in his most notable screen performance to date.
After an impressive opening scene in which he introduces himself as a comically outlandish record boss, the rapper gets the ball rolling by sending long-time Aldous Snow fan Aaron Green (Hill) to Lahndan tahn to bring washed-up rocker back to LA for one last concert.
Snow’s latest single African Child was called “the third worst thing to ever happen to the continent” (just behind war and famine) and when his girlfriend of many years (an acute Rose Byrne) leaves him, his life hits the skids. Unsurprisingly when Aaron turns up to shepherd him to the airport he shows more interest in getting epically hammered than boarding the plane and the young American doesn’t even have time to say “I think I’m coming up” before being dragged into Snow’s world of drink, drugs and girls.
What ensues is a fine mixture of slapstick and bare wit, which works so well because it glides rather close to reality. Anyone that has followed Brand’s career with any interest will recognise his drug-addled character arc as being more than vaguely biographical and in one scene he gets troublingly aggressive with Aaron when he chucks his stash. Hill and Diddy also excel as they stay close to home by playing a warm-hearted nerd and a brazen ghetto lad-made-good.
Galvanised by good chemistry and propelled by a fine script, the close-to-the-bone nature of this comedy may well have been the final piece in the jigsaw..