Nicholas Stoller’s Get Him to the Greek is sort of a spin-off of 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which he also directed, and despite the fact that Jonah Hill plays a completely different character in each film, I can accept that they both exist in the same fictional universe. It’s just too bad that the films don’t share much beyond Hill and raucous rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), who figures much more prominently in Get Him to the Greek.
Whereas Forgetting Sarah Marshall was anchored by the insecurities and idiosyncrasies that writer Jason Segel infused into the script, Get Him to the Greek is mostly paint-by-numbers raunch. Not that Greek doesn’t have its moments — Hill, Brand and Sean Combs have no trouble coaxing humor out of the material — but it doesn’t offer anything as painfully personal or weirdly memorable as Sarah Marshall (think the naked breakup or Dracula musical scenes).
Get Him to the Greek finds rock star Snow at rock bottom after the critical and commercial failure of album and single African Child. Meanwhile, Aaron Green (Hill), a record company grunt, pitches the idea of returning Snow to Los Angeles’s Greek Theatre for the 10th anniversary of his famous concert there.
Bombastic boss Sergio Roma (Combs) is initially reticent to approve the idea, but eventually does so, and charges Aaron with picking up Snow from London and taking him to New York for an appearance on the Today Show and then to L.A. for the concert.
Aaron finds a rock star not so interested in his music, but ranging from depressive over the loss of former girlfriend and fellow musician Jackie Q (Rose Byrne, throwing dignity to the wind) to manic and ready to indulge in all the expected rock star vices. The clean-cut Aaron has little choice but to partake in activities like smuggling heroin up his ass in an attempt to keep Snow on track. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Daphne (Elisabeth Moss) wonders what he’s up to on the road.
I prefer Hill in roles where he’s commanding the film’s action with a bullying or creepy presence, but he’s plenty equipped to handle the wide-eyed naiveté and worry of Aaron Green, while Brand displays an effortlessly reckless persona that often makes it difficult to believe he’s doing that much acting. Watching these two interact makes for an enjoyable film much of the time, but Get Him to the Greek is a completely in-the-moment experience that lacks the sharpness and staying power of its predecessor.