Wednesday, 30 June 2010

REVIEW: Get Him To The Greek

Jonah Hill is ridiculously fat in this movie. I don't wish to be discourteous but its becoming distracting.

The Apatow freight train keeps on coming. I think we might be in the latter part of its life at this point, as his films seem to expand in length and contract in earnestness and to be honest laughs. You can throw Funny People in my face if you want to, and while its ambition was commendable, it was less then the sum of its parts and I'll stick to Punch Drunk Love for my dose of unexpectedly talented Sandler thesping. Get Him To The Greek is a little more mainstream, a little more generic and certainly the voice is gone. But its still funny, and feels like a well made R-rated studio comedy rather then a distinctive Apatowian one. But who says that's a bad thing, I myself grow weary of entitled slackers being metaphorically told to get off their ass.

The high-concept sees Company man Jonah Hill sent to bring off the wagon rock star Russell Brand back to LA for an anniversary gig at the Greek theater. But he's all drugged up and stuff, so against the clock hijinks ensue. Brand is a better actor then expected to be honest, I thought he would just ride his larger then life persona in place of creating a character, and while he still did that to a certain extent, he didn't bottle the more introspective moments as one would have assumed he might. He's not Steve Buscemi or anything, but I appreciate a celebrity cast for his novelty actually trying to give it an honest shot. Jonah Hill does what Jonah Hill always does, play a fatter, less funny Seth Rogen when Seth Rogen is otherwise engaged. He's OK, but the dude has got a shocking amount of highly exposed roles just from knowing Judd Apatow.

Pleasantly surprising are the female cast members, who aren't just girlfriends and wives but actually get to be funny in their own right, for which Director/Writer Nicholas Stoller deserves credit. Professional reactress Rose Byrne is actually pretty awesome here, I guess three years reacting to Glenn Close is having an effect, playing a Lily Allen type skewed hippy very hilariously. Similarly Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men's Peggy as all the hipster kids will know, does a lot with a throwaway girlfriend role. Why is she Hill's girlfriend again? You could comfortably fit two Elisabeth Moss' in one Jonah Hill so I don't know what that shit is about. Kevin James territory guys, you want to steer clear of that shit.

But because the world is a wonderful place where literally anything can happen, the movie is kind of stolen by Sean 'P Diddy' Combs. Puff Daddy ladies and gentleman, wonderfully self-deprecating and genuinely hilarious. It was a risky casting decision but it payed off in droves. From his lecture on the artistry of mindfucking, to surprisingly adept physical comedy the movie is always better when he's in it.

The film itself is entertaining enough romp, the jokes are a little predictable but I was laughing, and laughing a lot. So fair play. Attempts to raise the emotional stakes toward the end don't entirely pay off but still, a legitimately funny movie is something you've got to appreciate right? Even if it is a bit of a mess. Extra credit for having the stage songs sound at least partially acceptable, when they so often don't in this kind of movie.

Rating: 6/10

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