Director: Nicholas Stoller
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
A couple of years ago, when the Judd Apatow comedy train was still at full steam and everything he touched turned to gold, one of his strongest producing efforts was Forgetting Sarah Marshall, written by and starring Jason Segel. The film contained a mid-sized role for Russell Brand as Aldous Snow, an eccentric British rock star whom Sarah left Segel for but who turned out to be a fairly decent chap.
Now we have Get Him to the Greek, a spin off from Forgetting Sarah Marshall in which Brand returns as Snow, a fading egotist who likes to set his music videos in African war zones, amid plummeting sales, public humiliations and widespread derision.
Also returning from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but playing an entirely different character from his original role as a waiter is Jonah Hill as Aaron, a lowly employee at Snow’s record label who is charged with bringing him from London to Los Angeles to play an anniversary concert at the Greek Theatre. Snow doesn’t exactly prove to be an easy person to wrangle, what with his second-long attention span and fondness for substances and female companionship.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall was grounded by the likeability of Segel, with Brand both used sparingly as a comedy device and emerging as a surprisingly rounded character. But here he’s a spoiled, uncontrollable child and that makes for a difficult time. Aldous is alternately bullying or supportive towards Aaron and this inconsistency of character soon becomes tiresome.
With Aaron only having 48 hours to get Aldous to LA, the countdown element should be exploited to far greater effect, but the necessary focus is absent, the film ending up as simply a lot of broad comic incidents, generally drink or drugs related. This means a surplus of vomit and a dearth of real wit or ideas.
A subplot involving Aaron and his girlfriend starts out sweet but eventually becomes a bit of a distraction. Likewise Aldous trying to reconnect with his father (Colm Meaney, rivalling Anthony La Paglia when he played Daphne’s brother in Frasier for worst English accent) and his ex-girlfriend (Rose Byrne, whose accent isn’t much better than Meaney’s).
These both highlight the sparseness of the plot and act as unnecessary asides to a meandering story that begins to outstay its welcome long before the end of its excessive running time.