Monday, July 5, 2010

Get Him to the Greek

Get Him to the Greek
Grade: B
Cast: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Elizabeth Moss, Sean Combs, Rose Byrne
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Free Admission Granted

Dear Judd Apatow: You rock. I suck. Thank you for putting me in my place.

As I cower in the corner clinging to what’s left of my former dignity, you may ask, of what am I speaking? Get Him to the Greek, the latest dirty-minded, XXL-sized laugh riot to emerge from the Judd Apatow factory.

I’ve worked so hard to sharpen my resistance to this brand. I deplore its arrested development. Its reduction of manhood to pornography and video games. Its pinballing view of women as either whores or sources of male validation. Yet this little charmer is so overwhelmingly likable and manly that even I felt a surge of testosterone. Briefly.

I can’t say I didn’t try. One look at its embarrassingly juvenile poster sent a shiver. I thought I knew what I was in for. But who knew that Russell Brand would so delightfully balance happy-go-lucky charisma with randy excess? Or that director Nicholas Stoller would find such gentleness in the usually prickly Jonah Hill? Or that the film would irresistibly translate what men love about the fantasy of rock’n’roll?

Aldous Snow, amiable dunce rock star, has lost his mojo. His wife leaves. His album sucks. His most recent single, designed to raise awareness for beleaguered African children, is called the worst thing to happen to the Dark Continent since Apartheid.

Not all his fans have given up hope. Record company stooge Aaron Greene (Hill) convinces him to perform a comeback concert at LA’s Greek Theater. That part of the mission is easy. The hard part: getting him there clean, sober, and ready to perform. Aaron spends three crazy days of long drinks, loose women, anal hideouts for heroin, and epic rock and roll fistfights in Vegas hotel rooms with fur walls. That’s showbiz.

Get Him to the Greek has fun with cliched rock-and-roll horror stories. It also lets men believe what they want to believe about rock stars. Sure, they might be assholes who demand that concert promoters take all the green ones out of a bowl of M&Ms. But deep down, they’re really just cooler versions of our own best friends.

That vibe turns Get Him to the Greek into a pretty dirty, highly amusing man party. It remains to be seen if another result is status as the sleeper hit of the summer.

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