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MOVIE REVIEW: Get Him To The Greek

A funny "spin-off" from Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Get Him To The Greek: Rates a B.
Courtesy photo

One critic started their review of Get Him To The Greek by calling it a “sorta-kinda-not-really sequel.”

Well, nobody involved with this movie claimed it was a sequel or trying to be one. The word this critic was looking for is “spin-off.”

Spin-offs were popular in '70s TV. The Jeffersons was a spin-off from All in the Family.

A show like Happy Days had a few spin-offs: Laverne & Shirley, as well as Mork and Mindy.

A sequel would mean they are continuing with the same story. Aldous Snow, the British rock star played by Russell Brand, is a character from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. That’s the only thing it has to do with that movie. Although, Jonah Hill is playing an employee of a record label, and his character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall was completely different, so…that’s odd.

It’s also odd that Judd Apatow (who produced the film), keeps using the same actors. It’s so incestuous at this point. I’m starting to wonder if there’s an Apatow movie Seth Rogan or Jonah Hill haven’t done (and I saw a preview before this, showing an upcoming film with Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell, two more that have appeared together before in Apatow films).

In this movie, Hill is bullied by boss Sean Combs (better known as Puff Daddy, P-Diddy, etc.). His job is to get Snow to the Greek Theatre for a 10-year anniversary concert.

A similar story line was done in the 1983 movie Get Crazy with Daniel Stern and Malcolm McDowell. They want to have an anniversary concert for a Fillmore style venue that might close, and Lou Reed plays a wacky rock star that hasn’t left the hotel room in years. Near the end of the movie, he’s written a new song and is eager to perform it. He’s hit and killed by a car while crossing the street.

Another movie around that time was My Favorite Year with Peter O’Toole, who acted like a womanizing tool, while being chaperoned around town.

Greek has similar scenes (trying to get someone to a show, multiple women slept with, and someone being hit by a car).

It also reminds me at times of Almost Famous, a movie which is better in a few ways (it’s more realistic), but not in others (not as funny).

Jonah Hill reminds me a lot of John Candy. It’s strange, because Jack Black reminds me of John Belushi. Both of those guys are hysterically funny, but did a lot of bad movies. Both Hill and Candy aren’t as funny as those two, but both are in better movies. And this is yet another example of that.

Hill and Candy could both be funny (not just relying on their weight for laughs), and can play serious, and sad, quite convincingly.

Russell Brand (a former heroin addict in real life) had been making the news lately for getting engaged to singer Katy Perry after a brief courtship. It’s almost like something out of this movie, especially since Snow’s character in the film has a relationship with a high profile pop singer who like Perry, had a hit with very saucy lyrics.

There are a lot of scenes in this movie you can see coming, but they’re very cleverly written. It was a pleasant surprise that many of the scenes the TV commercials show, aren’t in the movie (don’t you hate those giving away all the good stuff?)

I’ve seen a lot of movies lately with great cameos. The tradition continues nicely here, with Ricky Schroder and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich.

When Hill first experiences the bar and club scene with Brand, he plays it awkward and as an employee trying to do his job. When he lets loose a little, he’s still visibly uncomfortable, and it hits comedic gold.

Hill shows that he can do physical comedy quite well in this film. One scene involves him sneezing that’s hysterical (I can’t explain more without giving things away).

There’s a scene where he has a big fight and “sort of” breaks up with his girlfriend, which makes it easier for the audience to forgive him in all these indulgences.

One scene involves a groupie in a bathroom. It might be the funniest groupie scene you’ll ever see. What happens on the toilet will make you forget how hard you laughed at Jeff Daniels sitting on the pot in Dumb and Dumber.

P. Diddy does what he usually does in movies – plays a slightly different version of himself. I have to admit, his scenes are all very funny. One involves him lecturing his staff on how successful he is (and how many chicken restaurant chains he owns); another involves him lecturing Hill on the proper times to answer his cell phone, and one with him enjoying some family time (watching The Biggest Loser).

The movie has a lot of great one-liners, and I feel comedies are funnier that have better scenes and are more realistic than just one-liners constantly thrown out at you. If you’re going to go down the path of a crazy comedy with a million jokes, I want the movie to be as funny as Airplane. This film obviously isn’t, but I doubt you’ll be disappointed; many scenes work.

One hilarious scene involves Hill being informed by his med-school girlfriend, that they’ll be moving to Seattle. He asks what he’d do in Seattle (since his job is in L.A.). She uses logic I’ve seen in a few females over the years. She replied, “There’s music in Seattle. They have a big music scene. Nirvana is from Seattle.”

And just when you think it can’t get any funnier, Hill angrily says, “I’m being told by you today that I should just drop everything and move to Seattle. That’s unfair. Okay, wait…I have an idea. I want you to move to Africa.”

I remember Brand hosted the MTV video awards years ago, and nobody knew who he was. I thought he was funny, and he always cracked me up on the late night talk shows. I know a few people that don’t care for him, and I’m guessing those people won’t like this movie. And, it’s also going to be a bit raunchy and crazy for some tastes.

The movie is a bit uneven and frantically paced at times. And the sentimental moments don’t work (are we really supposed to have sympathy for a rich, famous, druggie just because he claims to be “lonely?”); but I think it’s funny enough that most people will enjoy it.

It gets a B.