Get Him to Greek is an on the road odd couple comedy about a dorky record company executive and his relationship with a flamboyant drug and sex crazed rock star. You know the type: beers before brekkie, lines of coke for lunch, busty women for dessert, a very large room service bill and a helluva bad attitood.
Tubby star Jonah Hill expands his trademark repertoire (but only slightly) as Aaron Green, the man charged with picking up mega star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) and delivering him from London to “the Greek” in LA – the theatre where Snow’s big comeback concert will be staged.
Hill’s characters usually talk faster and swear more (check his roles in Knocked Up and Superbad in particular) but here he tones it back and creates a performance much more palatable for general audiences. Green is an obviously flawed character – his morals are bendable, he is easily corrupted and his resolve comes and goes – but he is nevertheless a thoroughly decent bloke with everyday man appeal.
This role is a harbinger of things to come for Hill, whose characters (and presumably he himself) will grow out of incessant bitching and pop culture banter. Some journos haven’t been able to refuse the temptation to label Hill this generation’s John Candy, but Hill’s trademark demeanour isn’t nearly as cheerful or as annoying as Candy’s and their characters bear no striking similarities. In fact, the only defining characteristic both actors share is entirely superficial: their large, flabby figures.
Predictably, Green and Snow’s chaotic journey from London to LA is riddled with debaucherous escapades plus a fair whack of Fear and Loathing, this time with a Judd Apatow flavoured twist (he was executive producer). Amusingly, Green is in effect raped by a lustful lass in the City of Sin who carries intimidating things around in her handbag. Hill’s flustered and panicky reactions make the scene funny. Had the gender roles been reversed, nobody would’ve been laughing.
To calm down in the wake of this dramatic incident Green flops on a couch and smokes a “jeffrey” (a joint blended with a cocktail of other drugs) which leads to the funniest scene in the movie. Convinced he’s having a heart attack, Green is encouraged to stay calm by stroking a furry wall while the room and its half-mad inhabitants descend into violence and bad craziness.
It’s a good scene. The chaos director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) relies on seems to grow effortlessly and organically and the jokes, while unashamedly of the wastoid variety, reveal an at times sharply devilish sense of humour.
Unfortunately, in broader terms Get Him to the Greek’s comedic rhythm never hits its stride. The tempo is awkward and the chemistry between Hill and Brand isn’t strong enough to hold the story together.
With his lanky Looney Tunes look, Brand appears buggy eyed and wired throughout. It isn’t a demanding role but Brand, yet to prove he can transcend caricature, is incapable of handing the complexities of the character, which surface mostly towards the end.
Hill provides an affable presence and is the kind of actor most audiences would probably feel inclined to sit down and have a yak with, presumably without the usual sense of feeling star struck or intimidated. There is something very endearing about a celebrity who can radiate that kind of approachability. In short: watch this face. Jonah Hill’s movie career – hopefully, for the sake of his health, not his physical stature – will only get bigger
Get Him to the Greek’s Australian theatrical release date: June 17, 2010.