Monday, June 7, 2010

Get Him to the Greek (2010) – Review

Get Him to the Greek is very funny, a little sweet and enriched with mocking, yet endearing, commentary on the music business. At its heart the film is a road trip comedy focusing on getting a Wildman rock star from London to a gig in LA in 72 hours, but the film is so much more, setting it apart from many similar comedies. There is quite a lot of satire in the film at the expense of the music industry – the film seems to initially completely buy into the mythos of the music business and that of rock stars (as seen in the opening montages for London and New York – playing classic local music, if not absurd in its over use, aka London Calling, and peppering the screen with local music venues, which was also cool, and in the lead character’s (Jonah Hill) excitement and admiration for Aldus Snow), but this fades as the lead character comes to terms with the façade versus the reality of his idol. The film loses the music themed montages and dives deeper into what a shallow and overly superficial lifestyle that many rock stars lead and its affects both on them (looking at why they do it or subscribe to such a lifestyle) and on those around them. True, this is not revolutionary or new territory, but the film’s take on the experience, while prominently to humorous ends also looks into the humanity of the characters, and it is the mixture of these seemingly at-odds devices that makes the film stand out, elevating it above just another raunchy comedy or rock star satire (this is a general theme to much of producer Judd Apatow’s work, looking for comedies that have heart – to put it plainly and clichéd). The film ultimately succeeds both on the performances of its leads and the keen storytelling of director Nicholas Stoller. He is able to give the audience all the out-there wild rock star shenanigans that they expect but still ground the characters and their emotional experiences and journeys in reality allowing the viewers to connect and care about the characters – not an easy task. Jonah Hill and Russell Brand are both hilarious and perfect in their respective roles. Brand especially is just so in tune with his character (and while the character is not too far off his own comedic styling, it is still a wonderfully crafted performance). The other supporting characters are fantastic as well and each contributes good work to the film: Rose Byrne is outrageous, Sean Combs is great (maybe surprisingly), and Elisabeth Moss is funny and very sweet, yet strong in her role (while she is excellent on Mad Men, seeing her here makes me hope she gets more cinematic and comedy work in the future). Colm Meaney, Aziz Ansari and Carla Gallo are also good in smaller roles, along with a number of great bit parts. The crew also provided good work to the film. Cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman and production designer Jan Roelfs’ work complements the world of the rock star well, from the club sets to the musical performances, their work both personifies and pokes fun at the lore of the film. The soundtrack is also filled with funny and ridiculous songs written by Mike Viola, composer Lyle Workman and co-producer Jason Segel. The film is not just a fun companion piece to the brilliant Forgetting Sarah Marshall; it is its own entertaining stand-alone film. 8/10

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