Universal // 2010 // 116 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Dan Mancini (Retired) // October 4th, 2010
When the world slips you a Jeffrey, stroke the furry wall.
Nicholas Stoller's directorial debut, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, told the humorous tale of sad sack movie composer Peter Bretter's attempt to cope with his eponymous girlfriend's dumping him for hedonistic British rock star Aldous Snow. British stand-up comedian Russell Brand's (Bedtime Stories) performance as Snow proved so entertaining that Stoller and co-writer Jason Segel (who also starred as Bretter) decided to make a sequel of sorts that put Snow and his antics front and center. Get Him to the Greek was born.
During a brainstorming session, aspiring Pinnacle Records executive Aaron Green (Jonah Hill, Superbad) comes up with the idea of staging a concert to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Aldous Snow's (Brand) famed concert at L.A.'s Greek Theater as a way of generating revenue for the recession-plagued label. Green's boss, Sergio Roma (Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Made) warms to the idea and sends Green to London to collect Snow. Green's mission to escort the rock star to the Greek within 72 hours is complicated by the fact that Snow has fallen ass-backwards off the wagon after his latest single, "African Child," bombed, and his pop star girlfriend, Jackie Q (Rose Byrne, Troy), dumped him. In London, Green gets caught up in Snow's life of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, endangering both his career and his relationship with girlfriend Daphne (Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men), a doctor finishing her internship.
Once upon a time, any movie Judd Apatow touched, either as a director (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up) or as a producer (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Superbad) felt fiercely original and side-splittingly funny. But the more movies Apatow made, the more obvious his formula became. In 2005, Get Him to the Greek would have registered as a bold and original comedy; in 2010, not so much. Its laughs are built primarily of vomit, accidental sex, objects being inserted into anuses, and winking nods to all of the lamest clichés from every episode of VH1's Behind the Music ever made. The movie is as predictable as its trailer indicated: a foul-mouthed, gross-out comedy with a core of surprisingly tender-hearted traditional morality, featuring Jonah Hill and Russell Brand as Jonah Hill and Russell Brand. Get Him to the Greek is, in other words, just like every other movie churned out by Apatow's production house.
Call me a Philistine, but I laughed out loud -- heartily and often.
Stoller shoots Get Him to the Greek's many gags with a frenetic and appealing energy. Jonah Hill and Russell Brand may have exactly zero in the way of thespian range, but they play their particular types well and have tremendous chemistry with one another. Hill's quick-witted, stammering neurosis is goaded on and exacerbated by Brand's sneering, sardonic sense of humor. The rotund Hill and gangly Brand even look like a classic comedy duo -- a Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello for the vulgar 21st century. The movie's secret comedy weapon, though, is Sean Combs, whose stone-cold turn as record mogul Sergio Roma is responsible for some of the movie's most profanely hilarious moments. It's clear from the featurettes on this disc that P. Diddy was coached in the ways of comedy (and especially improvisation) by Stoller, Hill, and Brand throughout the production, but you have to give it up to him: He manages to upstage Hill and Brand in every single scene he shares with them. Not bad for a guy who isn't exactly known for comedy.
Above all, Get Him to the Greek is a wacky road picture. Its comic highlights include a bacchanalian clubbing sequence in London during which Green gets loaded and crosses some surprising lines in his relationship with Daphne; a scene in New York in which a horrified Meredith Vieira deals with a drunk and high Green who tries to play it smooth on the set of The Today Show after puking on the lapel of his own sports coat; and a whacked-out Vegas party sequence involving Green, Roma, Snow, Snow's negligent father (Colm Meaney, Layer Cake), a gaggle of groupies, the world's most mind-altering joint (nicknamed "Jeffrey"), a hypodermic needle filled with adrenaline, and a wall covered in shag carpet. But perhaps the most riotously funny part of the movie is set in L.A., where Green is pressured into a threesome with Daphne and Aldous, a raunchy event (delicately shot by Stoller) that becomes the inspiration for Snow's next single, "Riding Daphne" -- much to Green's chagrin. None of the movie's comic set pieces is particularly original or inventive, but if audience laughter is the end goal of comedy, then they get the job done.
This Blu-ray edition of Get Him to the Greek offers two versions of the movie via the magic of seamless branching: the 110-minute theatrical cut and a 114-minute unrated cut that is slightly more randy and raucous. Either way, the 1080p/AVC transfer has the modern sheen, rock solid color timing, and ultra-crisp detail one expects from modern Hollywood productions. The DTS-HD Master Audio track isn't as powerful as an action movie mix, but the dialogue, music, and effects are beautifully rendered. Dynamic range is excellent, imaging across the soundstage is perfect, and subtle sonic detail comes across with great clarity.
If a top-notch Blu-ray presentation isn't enough to impress you, then fear not: the disc is loaded with supplemental content. There's a jam-packed feature commentary with Stoller, Hill, Brand, Rose Byrne, Elisabeth Moss, and producer Rodney Rothman. Stoller, Hill, and Byrne were recorded together, while Moss and Rothman make brief appearances over the telephone, and Brand drops in about halfway through. The rapport between all of them is excellent. They deliver a great mix of anecdotes about the production, and a bit of technical detail, and good old fashioned joking around.
In addition to the commentary, there's also a trio of behind-the-scenes video features:
Getting to Get Him to the Greek (32:07)
One part electronic press kit, one part genuine making-of, this documentary mixes fluffy, self-congratulatory cast and crew talking head pieces with some great behind-the-scenes footage. It traces the movie from its initial inception, through its production, and to its release.
Getting in Tune with the Greek (13:47)
This piece offers a look at the music of Aldous Snow's band, Infant Sorrow. The tunes were written by Dan Bern and Mike Viola, the duo who wrote most of the music for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, as well as Inara George from Bird and the Bee, and Jarvis Cocker from Pulp. None of the songs reaches the musical comedy heights of This is Spinal Tap, but they're still catchy, funny, and believably rock 'n' roll.
The Making of African Child (6:26)
In this faux featurette, Aldous Snow gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the video shoot for his pretentious and inadvertently racist flop single "African Child."
The extras menu also contains a large selection of music videos and performances of a variety of Aldous Snow tunes, including "African Child," "I Am Jesus," "Just Say Yes," "Bangers, Beans & Mash," and "Riding Daphne." The segments are complete performances of performances that were excerpted in the movie, either in the reunion concert or in Snow's appearance on the Today Show or VH1 Storytellers. The disc also packs karaoke versions of "African Child," "I Am Jesus," "Ring 'Round," "Supertight," "Just Say Yes," "Gang of Lust," "Going Up," "Bangers, Beans & Mash," and "Yeah Yeah Oi Oi."
A U-Control feature allows you to jump to musical cues throughout the movie and listen to the isolated score. Given the briefness of the snippets of music, the feature isn't as cool as it sounds.
The disc is also BD-Live enabled.
In addition to all of that, the set also contains a DVD full of bonus material. There are two gag reels that run 10 and 5 minutes respectively; a Line-o-Rama feature (9:02) that collects alternate improvisations of some of the movie's funniest moments; an alternate opening of the film that finds Snow partying at a castle; and an alternate ending in which Green and Snow reunite after a few months and Green is horrified by the rock star's upcoming release, "Riding Daphne." There's also a collection of 17 deleted scenes, as well as a reel of 22 extended and deleted scenes. Blind Medicine is a collection of scenes from Sarah Marshall's cheesy television medical drama. The scenes feature Kristen Bell and Rick Schroder in full over-acting mode. Most didn't make it into the final cut of Get Him to the Greek, though there is one brief callback to the earlier film. There are complete Aldous Snow interview segments from The One Show, MTV, The Today Show, and The View, portions of which appeared in the film. Finally, there are audition reels for Rose Byrne, Elisabeth Moss, Nick Kroll, Aziz Ansari, and TJ Miller.
Universal also provides an authorization code so that those with internet-connected Blu-ray players can stream one of three comedies -- Uncle Buck, Dazed and Confused, or Life -- for free.
Get Him to the Greek may not be groundbreaking comedy, but Jonah Hill and Russell Brand still manage to deliver solid laughs while working comfortably within their respective wheelhouses. The movie's only true comic revelation is Sean Combs, who is genuinely funny throughout.
As far as this Blu-ray release goes, there's little room for complaint. The movie looks and sounds gorgeous, and the supplements are both plentiful and entertaining.
Review content copyright © 2010 Dan Mancini; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS 5.1 Surround (French)
* DTS 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 116 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Theatrical Version
* Alternate Intro/Ending
* Deleted/Extended Scenes
* Gag Reels
* Music Videos