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Get yourself to 'Get Him to the Greek'

June 08, 2010|By BOB GARVER / Special to Pulse

2008's "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" marked the last time we saw bizarre rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). It also marked the last time I was able to enjoy a sweet, heartfelt. R-rated comedy.

I have enjoyed admittedly nasty R-rated comedies ("Step Brothers," "Tropic Thunder," "Bruno") since then, and likewise, I have forced myself to sit through dull R-rated comedies that tried to play nice ("Pineapple Express," "Funny People").

But now, for the first time in a while, I don't have to choose between sweet and funny.

The film tells the story of two men presented with the opportunity to achieve greatness. Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) is a young record executive who loves music more than anyone else at the label. His boss, Sergio (Sean "Insert Whatever Nickname He's Using This Week" Combs), is looking for ideas and Aaron suggest putting on an Aldous Snow concert.

Snow has been out of the limelight for a while now recovering from drugs, a divorce, a breakup with Sarah Marshall and a disastrous flop of a single.

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Sergio books Aldous for a show at L.A.'s Greek Theater and instructs Aaron to go to London to pick up Aldous and bring him to L.A. If Aaron succeeds, he will be a made man at the company and Aldous will make a career comeback.

Unfortunately, Aldous has a knack for finding trouble, and this causes problems for the duo's travel arrangements. He isn't afraid to delay things by partying, drinking, doing drugs, hooking up with women, or searching for his estranged father (Colm Meaney).

All of this drives Aaron crazy, of course, but this doesn't stop him from emulating his idol and partaking in some of the partying himself. This causes an even greater rift between him and his nurse girlfriend Daphne (Elisabeth Moss), already upset with him for his flat-out refusal to move with her from L.A. to Seattle to pursue a job opportunity.

Aaron's actions on the road may be deplorable, but we want to see him and Daphne succeed as a couple. They have excellent chemistry in early scenes, and clearly they are willing to go out of their way for each other. It's nice to see a screen couple worth caring about again.

Aldous may be too superficial to be as deserving of true happiness, but it is still touching to see him try to work on his relationships with his ex-wife Jackie (Rose Byrne), his father, his son, Aaron, and even himself. It is genuinely sad to see him struggle with his self-destructive tendencies, and uplifting to see him gain a measure of control.

Mushy stuff aside, the film's funniest parts are born out of raunchy humor.

o Aldous' and Jackie's songs are so obscene that it's a wonder they ever became radio hits.

o Sergio uses intimidating profanity to teach Aaron about sucking up to Aldous (a hilarious scene that establishes Combs as a strong comedic talent).

o Aldous wants Aaron to hide his drug stash in the most disgusting way possible.

o Aaron and Aldous go on several wild, deplorable party binges.

o Aldous has an unconventional way for Aaron and Daphne to make up.

o And a poolside stunt by Aldous has gruesome consequences. Again though, it's handled with a refreshing smartness and honesty that makes for more than cheap laughs (except for the drug stashing, that's all lowbrow).

The best scenes in "Get Him To The Greek" are ones that don't seem like they took a lot of time to set up. These scenes come off as though director Nicholas Stoller just set up a camera and let the actors run their lines. Or that Stoller and co-writer Jason Segel were able to write out an entire scene in one sudden burst of inspiration.

Either way, the film marks a welcome return of the kind of sweet, intelligent comedy that by no means should be seen by children.

"Get Him To The Greek" is rated R for strong sexual content and drug use throughout, and pervasive language. Its runtime is 109 minutes.

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