Even if you haven’t seen Get Him To The Greek before, you may already be fairly familiar with the format. There’s a thing that’s happening and the characters need to get to that thing, but of course, largely due to some bad decisions and maybe a little bad luck thrown in for good measure, getting from A to B proves to be a much more challenging endeavor than it should be. The success of the formula relies on good characters, a solid story and of course, humor. In that respect, Get Him To The Greek gets it mostly right.
Get Him to the Greek follows Aaron Green (Jonah Hill), an aspiring music exec whose career hangs in the balance as he’s assigned the duty of getting rock legend Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) from London to Los Angeles to perform at a big, hopefully career-repairing concert at The Greek Theatre. Snow’s character was first introduced in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, as he served as the title character’s new boyfriend. Snow was on the wagon in Marshall, but that has changed in Greek as his career begins to slip down into a desperate state and he starts drinking and doing drugs again. Between the excessive partying, drama with his pop-star ex-girlfriend Jackie Q (Rose Byrne) and his father (Colm Meaney), and his general disregard for things like schedules and laws, getting him to the Greek is much more of an adventure than it would be otherwise.
Between the journey from London to Los Angeles and the interviews and random video clips thrown in to emphasize Snow's fame, the film has no shortage of celebrity cameos. Mario Lopez, Pink, Billy Bush, Kurt Loder, Christina Aguilera, Meredith Vieira, and others put in appearances throughout the movie. Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and Tom Felton of the Harry Potter films are easily the funniest of these bits. Sarah Marshall fans will also appreciate the commercial for Blind Medicine, starring Sarah Marshall and another recognizable face, which I won’t spoil for you (hint: it’s even better than a Baldwin).
Filling out the cast is Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, who plays Green’s boss, hot-headed record producer Sergio Roma. While this isn’t Combs’ first foray into the world of comedy films (you might remember him from his role in the film Made), he definitely steps it up to deliver laughs in Greek. If you’re a fan of the FX series Damages, you might also recognize Rose Byrne, who plays Snow’s ex-girlfriend Jackie Q. I emphasize “might” because, while she speaks in her native British accent -- which might throw fans off on its own -- Byrne is so funny and so completely opposite from the more reserved Ellen Parsons of Damages that she’s virtually unrecognizable here. Mad Men fans won’t have trouble, however, recognizing Elisabeth Moss as Daphne, Green’s girlfriend.
Get Him to the Greek’s story is almost like Superbad on a grander scale as we watch the characters deal with personal issues while scrambling to get to a destination and stumbling numerous times along the way. Unfortunately, I’m not sure a grander scale is what a story like this needs. Superbad had a certain inexplicable charm to it, as well as moments that gave you time to stop and get to know the characters, while also laughing hysterically at their antics or silly conversations. Get Him to the Greek is almost always on the move, filling any speck of space within the somewhat scattered plot with physical comedy or some other ridiculous gag, leaving the viewer little to no time to consider what’s really going on or form any emotional attachments to the characters. In short, the film is funny but it might not make you feel much in the end.
Being a fan of Russell Brand will certainly enhance your enjoyment of Get Him to the Greek, however that doesn’t carry the film on its own. There are lulls in the story and parts of the plot that seem somewhat forced and unnecessary. Whether it’s because the character of Aldous Snow is better in smaller doses, like he was in Sarah Marshall, or because he’s funnier as a sober, occasionally Yoda-like guy who doesn’t let much get to him than he is an inebriated, clueless rock star, there’s something missing from Greek that prevents it from being what it could be. Still, it delivers laughs and is certainly worth checking out for those who can appreciate a raunchy film filled with sex, drugs, and -- of course -- rock and roll.
The Get Him to the Greek Two-Disc Unrated Collector’s Edition offers both the unrated and theatrical versions of the film. As the unrated version only includes an additional five minutes of film, the separate version isn’t really a huge selling point here. The bonus features are a different story.
In addition to the crisper video quality that comes with Blu-ray, there are a number of other features exclusive to the Blu-ray set, including a digital copy, which for me is sometimes the deciding factor between shelling out the extra money for the Blu-ray or just buying the slightly less expensive DVD. In addition to the digital copy, the set offers BD-Live (and a choice of one “free” bonus movie to view streaming through your PS3 or other compatible player: Life, Uncle Buck, or Dazed and Confused) and pocket-BLU functionality, which offers some special features for compatible Smartphone devices. I don’t think my phone is all that smart, nor do I have a data plan, so I wasn’t able to play around with that, but people interested in experiencing “Blu-Ray in an exciting new way” might want to check it out.
Another Blu-Ray feature offered is U-Control, which allows viewers to get information on the music playing throughout the movie while watching it. As there’s a lot of music in the film, including the original songs, this is a helpful little feature. There are extra extended and alternate scenes on the Blu-ray (in addition to the ones offered on the DVD set), music performances, a Karaoke feature for some of the original music, and the cast auditions, which are definitely worth checking out. The audition footage featuring Elisabeth Moss is particularly hilarious and makes me wish they would have done a little bit more with her character.
The set offers a commentary featuring some of the cast and crew. They get side-tracked a bit with random stories, but for the most part they stay on topic, talking about some of the people featured in the film and the locations visited, which makes it worth listening to for the most part.
If you own the DVD or Blu-ray set for Superbad, 40-Year-Old Virgin, or just about any other film in the Judd Apatow family, you know that there’s often a wealth of hilarity tucked away amidst the outtakes, deleted scenes, extended or alternate scenes, and Line-O-Rama features. Get Him to the Greek is no exception. I’m a big fan of the Line-O-Rama feature, as we get to see different versions of some of the funnier bits of dialogue in the movie. Also among these features is an alternate intro and an alternate ending which I thought was actually funnier than the one they went with.
The most random of the features (and quite possibly my favorite) is the bonus feature on Blind Medicine, the new series starring Sarah Marshall. We get a glimpse of the show during the movie, but this special feature reveals more footage from the ridiculous fake TV series about a blind surgeon. It’s definitely worth checking out and one more reminder of how funny Kristen Bell is.
Between the above-mentioned features and the three behind-the-scenes documentaries, which dig into the development of the movie and the songs performed by Snow throughout the film, any fan of Get Him to the Greek will have plenty of opportunities to see how this movie came to be. The special features showcase the work that went into the film and the fun and laughs that came out of it, both in front of and behind the camera. If you enjoy the movie, you’ll definitely be able to squeeze even more laughs from the bonus features.