Get Him To The Greek
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Get Him To The Greek

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There is something uniquely American about the road trip film. Sure, the film makers of other countries have taken on this extremely versatile genre but none have explored the full potential of the circumstances as American screen writers and directors. Taking two or more people and sticking them in the confines of a car forcing them to endure each other’s company during a cross country trek offers such a rich environment for story telling that it can take any numbers of directions. In the forties the ‘Road’ movie featuring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope entertained millions for years. The darker side of this format was taken on with "Thelma and Louise’ are providing one of the most dramatic endings in cinema. From the vantage point of telling a story the close quarters offered by the typical road trip become a cauldron for fermenting tension that can in turn set the stage for over the top comedy or emotionally intense drama. This genre remains a favorite for millions because the foundational situation may be the same but the potential is limited only by the creativity of the film makers. Fortunately, one of the most recent incarnations of this type of film, ‘Get Him to the Greek’, the results succeed in providing an entertaining time with plenty of laughs throughout. This is a modern ‘R’ rated comedy approach to the road trip flick filled with an abundance of sophomoric gags, drug use and sexual innuendo. While geared toward the high school guy crowd the production is well done and can be appreciated by adults seeking a couple of hour’s relief from the mundane daily drag. You cannot begin watching this movie with expectations other than letting go of your tenuous grip on reality. When you pop this film in you DVD player be prepared to just have a good time; engaging the higher functions of your brain are not only not required you may actually find they get in the way of your full experience of this movie.

Nicholas Stoller is a film maker who is definitely on the rise. He started honing his twisted brand of humor with a couple of extremely off beat television series; ‘strangers With Candy’ and ‘Undeclared’. Both shows took the hackney sit-com format to wonderfully bizarre places. Now Stoller has refocused his attention to doing much the same in films. Some of the characters and situations depicted here are a continuation of those created for ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshal’ creating a hybrid somewhere between sequel and spin-off. Although not unprecedented in movies this approach is sufficiently novel to give a fresh starting place for the movie. Considering his resume includes participation in the much lauded The Harvard Lampoon, irreverent humor has been a part of his life for quite awhile. Many flicks depend on gross-out humor to carry the film but the genius of the cast and crew here is how that is relegated to the foundation of the film but is not intended to carry it completely. There are plenty of juvenile moments here but it provides a scaffold for the development of the characters. This is what is generally missing from films like this; the touch of heart allowing the audience to become emotionally invested in the characters.

Russell Brand reprises his ‘Sarah Marshal’ role as the uninhibited rock star Aldous Snow. He is the kind of person oblivious to the needs or feelings of any other living creature in the world. This reputation is in no danger of changing the way others perceive him when he releases his latest album complete with the highly offensive single, ‘African Child’. When it is called the worse thing to hit the continent since apartheid he becomes more of a public relation nightmare than usual. Making this an even lower point hot Snow is when is girlfriend Jackie Q (Rose Byrne) takes full custody of their child, Naples. Thrown into the darkest funk possible he reacts in the way any spoiled rock star would; unabashed drug and alcohol abuse. Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) is a pleasant, unassuming guy working in an entry position for the public relations department of Pinnacle Records. He’s not making much progress in his career and on the personal side of his life he barely gets any time to spend with his live in girl friend, Daphne (Elisabeth Moss). While Aaron can’t seem to get his career off the ground Daphne has graduated medical school and has started her internship. One day Aaron awkwardly pitches an idea to Sergio Roma (Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs), the owner of the label that they should get Snow to perform at the famous Greek Theater to celebrate the tenth anniversary of a particularly famous appearance. Roma agrees and dispatches Aaron to London to escort the recalcitrant rock star to The States. Complicating an already tedious assignment is tracking down Daphne who moved to Seattle to accept a less stressful internship.

There are the usual assortment of standard rom-com style misunderstandings such as Aaron’s cell phone winding up in Snow’s pocket, inadvertently calling Daphne especially while he’s busy carousing with strange women. Daphne, certain that it’s Aaron, is ready to break up with him. The road trip plot devices crash into gross out gags when Snow implores Aaron to smuggle drugs up his butt. That is not the only affront to that region of his body when they meet an out of control groupie that assaults him in that sensitive region. This is only a small sample of how raunchy the humor can get and although it admittedly sinks pretty low the inner ten year old how resides somewhere inside us all will start to laugh. Brand has lived and played this kind of persona for so long it seems that he is no longer acting. Te director could have easily just had a camera follow him around. Hill is in a similar position playing a character well with his established comfort zone with ease. Moss is best known for her dramatic roles on ‘The West Wing’ and "Mad Men’ but shows her ability to handle zany comedy.

Posted 09/23/2010

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