Greek out

Russell Brand’s rock-’n’-roll road trip

Get Him to the Greek
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Screenwriter: Nicholas Stoller
Cast: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Elisabeth Moss, Sean Combs, Rose Byrne
Release Date: 2010-06-02
Rated: R
Genre: Film

When we last saw British rocker Aldous Snow (Brand) in 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he was a recovering addict dating TV actress Sarah Marshall and incessantly irritating her ex-boyfriend, Peter Bretter (Jason Segel). Get Him to the Greek begins a few years later, after Snow’s fallen off the wagon and hasn’t had a hit song in quite some time. To make things worse, his relationship with pop star Jackie Q (Byrne) has ended, and she’s taken up with Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich.

Aaron Green (Hill), a young record-company flunky, has an idea: If Aldous can stage a comeback concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, it’ll reboot his career. The only catch — Aaron’s boss (Combs) wants him to fly to London to retrieve Aldous and bring him to the States. But that isn’t as easy as it sounds, since booze, drugs, and women easily distract the self-involved rock star.

In addition to Brand, several Forgetting Sarah Marshall alum are back for Get Him to the Greek, including writer-director Nicholas Stoller, Segel (who pens several new songs), and Hill, who had a minor role in the first movie as another character.

“The movie came out of the fact that `Brand and Hill` had such good chemistry during the filming of Sarah Marshall,” explains Stoller. “During the shoot, I pitched it to them, and they liked it. The original idea wasn’t that it would be a spin-off, but that it would be this rock-’n’-roll road-trip comedy. When I was writing the script, I realized it would be weird if Russell played a different rock star.”

Aaron’s first encounter with Aldous in London turns into an all-night party, and the two barely make it on the plane. When they land in New York and race off to a Today Show appearance, it turns into a disaster when Aldous tells Aaron he’s forgotten the words to the song he’s about to perform.

The movie sputters a bit midway, when the pair makes a stop in Las Vegas and Aldous meets up with his half-crazed father (Colm Meaney). The Hangover-like stripper antics ensue. But once Aaron and Aldous finally arrive in L.A., the film gets back on track — especially when they begin to reveal their own insecurities and shortcomings.

“To me, the most important thing in any movie is that it has a real heart and a true emotional underpinning,” says Stoller. “The whole movie is heading toward Aldous being made completely vulnerable and stripping away all his pretenses of coolness. That’s very intentional, and Russell is such a good actor, he’s able to bring that to the film.”

Given the bad-boy comic’s history of addiction and troublemaking, we’re guessing Aldous isn’t much of a stretch for Brand. But the key to the heavily improv-ed Get Him to the Greek isn’t chemical dependency, it’s the chemistry between its two leads. •

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