Get Him to the Greek
A comedy finally figures out how to sell Russell Brand to America
Cracking wise in that British accent of his with Britney Spears in the 2008 MTV Music Awards commercials or hitting up the Jonas Bros. about their purity rings during his host job at the actual award ceremony didn't do much for Russell Brand's image in America. But you always got a sense he didn't give a shit what America thought--all while invading our homeland.
In 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall he played to type as the preening, sexy, and inappropriate cocky British rock star Aldous Snow. During a 2009 Fresh Air interview about his memoir My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up, he charmed Terry Gross, proving that his drug use--he became sober in 2002 after years of abuse--didn't destroy his intelligence nor wit. Now Brand is back as Snow in producer Judge Apatow's latest bromance, written/directed by Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller (based on characters by Jason Segel).
Get Him to the Greek operates as a sort of travelogue detailing the steps it takes Aaron Green (Jonah Hill, also in Sarah Marshall but as a different character), a sincere Pinnacle Records label employee/fan, to escort hot mess Snow from London to the Greek Theater in Los Angeles for a commemorative concert, being held a decade after the height of Snow's celebrity--before his career went down in flames with the song, album, and video, "African Child."
After suggesting the anniversary concert as a way to boost Snow's band Infant Sorrow's back catalog--and because Green loves Snow--his boss Sergio Roma (Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, who does a good job, like he's been practicing this acting thing) gives Green 72 hours to get Snow from London to the Greek, along with some advice on how to indulge a star, cause Green is a little green around the rock. He's also a little sheltered in his relationship with his overworked medical student girlfriend Daphne (played with perfect straight-girl chops by Elizabeth Moss).
And that's all just foreplay to Snow and Green in London, drinking and partying as Snow partakes in his every desire while Green herds him toward the airport before finally saying, fuck it. Getting fucked up releases Green from his inhibitions and unleashes Snow's insecurities, his love for his ex-wife Jackie Q (the gorgeous Rose Bryne, who really has the best musical numbers), and his general loneliness. They are hilarious partners in crime, with Hill's normal-guy whispers and Brand's deliciously quick banter--and it's not just a Laurel and Hardy-shaped duo thing with Hill's huge head and Brand's narrow hips. Clever writing makes you care if the two actually get where they both need to go.
And Greek may finally have Americans getting Brand, the sexy Brit with a biting tongue, perfect comic timing, and the wiry John Lennon-like build that operates on it's own physical wires, as if without an exoskeleton. More surprising, Brand also has a depth of range that a character living in debauchery needs to outlive it.