Let the comedy flow

Jonah Hill keeps the laughs coming in the predictable yet rowdy Get Him to the Greek

Get Him to the Greek
Tinseltown. Rated R.
Rated 3.0

Get Him to the Greek bills itself as a blatantly rambunctious comedy, and it makes good on all the promises of its taglines and promotional hooks. What’s surprising is that even with its low-comedy rowdiness and a thoroughly predictable story, it keeps a consistently fresh flow of comic action going full tilt, more or less, for nearly all of its 109-minute running time, and manages to have a good deal of quirky fun with its own rowdy premises as well.

The basic story is a farcical road trip—dorky record-company errand-boy Aaron Green (rotund Jonah Hill) must corral dissolute British rocker Aldous Snow (spindly Russell Brand) and get him from London to Los Angeles for a Greek Theatre concert in three days’ time. It’s more or less a foregone conclusion that the manically sybaritic rocker and the eager-beaver company man will not have an uneventful journey to Los Angeles—there are too many sirens of rock-star excess and self-indulgence beckoning them into detours and delays along the way.

Brand and Hill are two contrasting versions of the happy-sad clown, and this amusingly mismatched pair of lovable fools roll and tumble along on their much-interrupted journey, a latter-day picaresque jaunt with rambunctious stopovers in New York and Las Vegas. An amiably miscellaneous series of jibes at the music business and media celebrity crops up along the way, and the emotional crossfire of relationships among Aaron, Aldous, and a half-dozen other characters and cameos makes things even livelier.

Aaron and Aldous eventually find themselves drifting into sidelong buddy-buddy adventure, but both have other ongoing personal dramas in play. Aldous (whose character was first invented for director Nicholas Stollar’s 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall) is spiraling out of a much-publicized relationship with flamboyant riot girl/singer/groupie Jackie Q (Rose Byrne). He’s also trying to reconnect with his father Jonathan (burly Colm Meaney), who plays guitar in the backup band for some Rat Pack look-alikes in Las Vegas. And Aaron is trying to figure whether he and his live-in girlfriend, a hard-working medical professional named Daphne (a sweetly intense Elizabeth Moss), have any future together.

Hill and Moss make a charmingly offbeat romantic couple. Sean “P Diddy” Combs shows impressive comic chops as Aaron’s boss at the record company. Nobel Prize economist/columnist Paul Krugman has the most memorable of the film’s several celebrity cameos.