Movie Review: Get Him to the Greek- The Typical Display of Raunchiness and Vulgar Language That Modern Comedies Depend Too Much On

There might not be the greatest expectations for comedies nowadays considering they all follow the same formula of layered raunchiness, a dash of sentimentality, and loads of obscene language. Director Nicholas Stoller has taken one of his above average characters from the relatively successful Forgetting Sarah Marshall and given him his own feature film, which inevitably feels like a desperate attempt to repeat the timely summer success of last years The Hangover. Get Him to the Greek is just one of those films that could have been an excellent and witty parody of the music industry but ultimately falls flat and drags. Instead the result is much of the same raunchiness and continuous use of obscenities that plagues potentially good scripts. Hollywood has fallen back on a standard that really is average at best when it comes to comedy and unfortunately these lackluster attempts still make money. Fortunately for Get Him to the Greek it has some inadvertently memorable one liners and a decent enough cast to lead you through the over the top and desperate film that really fails due to the undeveloped and unredeemable characters that feel too out of this world to be relatable. If people really want to copy The Hangover they should learn that Todd Phillips understands that exaggerated character doesn’t mean alienating, and unfortunately Russell Brand and Jonah Hill are a bit too out of the movies to be real in any way.

Get Him to the Greek opens as though it’s a VH1 behind the scenes of the life and times of Aldous Snow, a wild and ignorant rock star character continued from the semi-successful comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall and is still played by stand up comedian Russell Brand. A befuddled Jonah Hill who always seems to play out of expected character to the point of pure repetition plays Aaron Green who proposes the idea of a reunion concert for Aldous Snow who is depressed and down on his luck. The move would put Aaron in a position to further his career and is hired to pick up Aldous and make sure he gets to the Greek Theater in three days. The task isn’t as simple as it seems considering that Aldous is the definition of Rock Star, constantly partying, drinking, and doing drugs whenever it’s possible. Basically the film is a bawdy and chaotic venture into the supposed stereotypes of the music industry that lacks the inventiveness of say other industry parodies such as Tropic Thunder or This is Spinal Tap. There isn’t anything vastly complex to the story nor does it try to explore anything other than the superficial clichés of the music industry, making jokes rather than clever satirical observations. Get Him to the Greek is slightly funny if only for its vulgar and unhinged presentation of party bedlam with somewhat charming characters to get you through it.

Charming is generally the best word to describe the lead actors Jonah Hill and Russell Brand if for very different reasons. They both exude known personalities that are familiar and humorous enough to bring a smile to your face. However, the characters they are portraying are lacking due to the superficiality of the script with a dedication to unbelievably awkward situations and interactions that lack pertinence. Consider Jonah Hill’s relationship with a seemingly awkward and boring Debra (Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss) who then, all of a sudden and out of character, is willing to have a threesome with a Rock Star. This makes for an uncomfortable and semi-humorous situation in the end but it just seems forced and out of flow with both characters. The alienation continues with just the obsessive use of vulgarity that seems to be the core of English used in the film. Obscenities can be creative and often times used creatively but it just seems the script filled the lulls with more and more profanity. When you introduce an audience to a world they are generally unfamiliar with, such as the party atmosphere of the music industry, there is a great risk in leaving your audience behind with a lack of understanding. This is essentially the core flaw of Get Him to the Greek where we are put into focus on the drug abuse and excessive drinking of the Rock Star lifestyle rather than using the opportunity to parody our uneducated perceptions. This could have been the Tropic Thunder of the music industry but doesn’t embrace this opportunity at all. Instead we’re left with the typical raunchiness and exaggerated profanity that most comedies in the last 10 years have used as a crutch.

Really it’s the cast that saves this mediocre comedy from being completely forgettable. Jonah Hill, while remaining repetitive in his role choices, still has some great delivery with a few select memorable lines and situational gags. His counterpart Russell Brand makes the most with repeating his already established spin-off character using his personality and British wit to make some of the duller moments light up. In a surprising semi-success comedic debut Sean Combs lets himself ease into the role as a self-involved and uncaring music producer, perhaps due to his familiarity with the music world. Many known comedians and actors make strange select appearances without much rhyme or reason, but the familiar faces make it enjoyable if not intelligible as to why they were cast in such flimsy roles. This cast really let those select comedic moments shine and will definitely allow the audience members looking for a release this summer through comedy to get what they’re looking for. But if you’re looking for a comedy that is fresh, original, and attempting something new than don’t bother with Get Him to the Greek because it really defines formulaic.

Perhaps it’s the high expectations of what comedy can accomplish but Get Him to the Greek doesn’t nearly come close to being what is known as quality comedy. It drags a bit too long, depends too much on profanity and coarse situations, and lacks relatable characters that give the audience a believable redeeming ending. But it is the June comedy and the first big one of the summer season, which means audiences will see it no matter what is written about it in the critical field. What can be said in Get Him to the Greek’s favor is that it is probably the better comedy choice this weekend when compared to the new Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher film Killers. Despite its obvious flaws, Get Him to the Greek will entertain those who expect the raunchy approach that is vastly similar, but not nearly as good as, American Pie and The Hangover.

Grade: C+

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