Russell Brand does not receive top billing in this comedy but he should. After all, he is the Him in Get Him to the Greek.
And what a Him he is. As an inventive performer and unique persona, Brand epitomizes a quintessential jaded rock star with the requisite charisma, guile, flair and flaws. He is the reason to see the film.
If not Brand, then Rose Byrne. The Damages star loosens her legal attire and liberates her inner minx. She adds primo merriment, melody and emotion to the mix.
The plump Aaron Green character (Jonah Hill) is the almost-appealing jester who belabors his oral ejection, penile erection and anal ingestion shticks, (but mercifully spares us the chronic farts that are often the centerpiece of this male-bonding road-trip genre of movie.)
Aldous Snow (Brand), the under-the-influence-over-sexed-burned-out rock musician, is scheduled for a comeback concert at Los Angeles' Greek Theater.
While Brand's Snow seems wildly exaggerated, he channels his own tabloid personage into his character with little need for embellishments.
Brand with his sinewy body, (he's a yoga practitioner in private life), spirals Snow between drug highs and liquor lows while warbling, swilling, swaggering and screwing from London to L.A.
Green has been dispatched by his music mogul boss (Sean Combs) to fetch Snow from his debauched life in London in time for a Today Show appearance in New York and the concert in L.A. Meanwhile, Green leaves his love home alone, (Elizabeth Moss as Daphne).
On the way the two travelers touch down in Las Vegas for Brand's bawdy reunion with his estranged dad (Colm Meany), luring the budding buddies to the brink of every excess short of overdose, AIDS and incarceration.
And that's the story fleshed out in four licentious cities for 114 libidinous minutes, punctuated by cameo appearances of celebs playing themselves, newsmakers like Lars Ulrich, Mario López, Pink, Billy Bush, Christina Aguilera, Tom Felton, Rickie Schroeder, Meredith Vieira, Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman and more.
The Bonus Features spew the usual exchange of mutual flattery and flummery: "so-and-so is the greatest." Yada yada; slap, slap.
The selection of clips and snips of writer/director Nicholas Stoller depict him as a giggling laissez faire boss, as does the Feature Commentary, but he is more than the sum of his Extra chortles. As the writer of several past and future films, second-time director Stoller helmed Jason Segal's Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
(Segal wrote and starred in the movie: a must see for any fan who prefers funny films with heart, originality and fresh performances - elements in short supply in the glut of not-so-hilarious Hollywood features focused on the versatile functions of fannies - of which Get Him to the Greek would be one, save for Brand and Byrne.)
Brand memorably first portrayed Aldous Snow in Segal and Stoller's Forgetting Sarah Marshall. While his trip mate appeared in the same film, he was the Forgettable Jonah Hill. Brand is an original; Hill perpetually plays generic.
Producer Judd Apatow (The Forty Year Old Virgin, Superbad, and Knocked Up) is another on-again off-again talent behind both films. If you are moved by his movies, you are a candidate to view the unrated cut of The Greek, another Bonus option.
(As an added treat, if you buy this Blu-ray, you can instantly stream either Uncle Buck, Dazed & Confused or Life on Pocket Blu or BD-Live on any Internet-connected Blu-ray player. The free offer is good until March 31, 2011.)
The karaoke segments are sort of extracted music videos of Brand and Byrnes' singing segments. While neither vocalist should trade their day jobs for night gigs, they both spoof euphonically well, delivering witty ditties created by seasoned song writers and composers.
The Feature Commentary reveals mostly trivial drivel until Brand joins the director and cast (at Chapter Seven in time for The Today Show scene). With Brand/Snow on board, the minutiae continues but upgrades to entertaining, touching, racy and piquant.
Lest you failed to notice, Russell had me at hello since Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I recommend he have you, too.
Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Cast: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Rose Byrne, Sean Combs, Elisabeth Moss, Colm Meany, Nick Kroll, Aziz Ansari, T. J. Miller