PLOT: A young music intern (Hill) is given the assignment of chaperoning a self-destructive British rock-star (Brand) as they mosey towards a large concert event at L.A's Greek Theater.
WHO'S IT FOR?: Those who love thinking about the couple of times they've seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
EXPECTATIONS: With my supportive weight put on Jonah Hill more than Russell Brand, I was hoping this supposed wink-and-nudge to modern music would bring sharp laughs with bits of cutting pop culture parody.
Jonah Hill as Aaron Green: Compared to his rock-partner in shenanigans, he’s a square who has little idea of what he’s getting himself into. But like Brand, Hill plays a type of human being quite similar to previous characters, but instead of freaking out when thrown into wacky situations as his character Seth from Superbad might have, Aaron realizes as a grown man that he must take on the predicaments head-on. Thus, he’s shown in multiple attempting to keep up with the narcotic intake performed by the supposedly steel-wall of substances known as Aldous Snow. Overall, this is one of Hill’s less aggressive roles, but one where he’s in the forefront, bringing our naivety with him on a crazy journey. He does this fine, but if one should even make a comparison to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he’s no Jason Segel. Score: 5
Russell Brand as Aldous Snow: We can see the ego fuming from his dirty looks and childish ways, an appearance that Brand makes believable quite easily. In the third act, his attempted transformation to pitiful creature doesn’t translate well, if at all. It’s possible that the character’s antics push him beyond the point of being emotionally redeemable, but it’s more likely that the former stand-up comedian is himself an actor of limited talent. The actor-“rocker” is in jeopardy of becoming the flashy brand of one-hit wonder, and certainly of killing the character Arthur when he tries to do his best Dudley Moore impersonation in the couple of years. Score: 5
Sean Combs as Sergio Roma: The superstar who has earned a slightly tyrannical personality with shows like "MTV's Making the Band" takes the wheel from the two main drivers of this spin-off and ends up as the most commanding person on-screen. Combs has a blast with the ridiculous nature of his character and turns it up to eleven, and slowly his “cameo” becomes an established and at times hilarious appearance. Score: 7
TALKING: The dialogue tries too hard with its “obscure” name-dropping in one-liners that are bound to make a person laugh the more they find topics like Miley Cyrus and Joe Jackson (yawn) to still be shocking. At times it feels like the script is testing how “random” it can go, but doing this it tries too hard to get our attention. Jokes are hardly specific to any proper noun, a specific line in the dialogue is more like: “You look like ‘Insert Random Actor Here.’” Score: 4
SIGHTS: Get Him To The Greek is a movie that, like its dialogue, thinks that the random is more special than the standard when it comes to cameos. In a movie about modern rock stars, it has appearance from Meredith Viera, Lars Ulrich (why???), and even a certain cast member from the Harry Potter film series. There's rarely an appearance from someone in the real world who equals Aldous' supposed pop importance. Score: 5
SOUNDS: The songs presented in the world of Aldous Snow are more dirty-mouthed than they are cleverly tongue-in-cheek, a trait that makes tunes from movies like This is Spinal Tap and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story so sharp. Aldous Snow has songs called “African Child (Inside of Me)” and “Going Up." For fans of earlier eras of rock, the soundtrack for this movie might be worth an amusing listen. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: The most harmonious moment between Greek's random humor and actual laughter might be Aaron’s improvisational freak-out during his blaring of prog-group The Mars Volta.
ENDING: Is it possible for another spin-off to be created from a spin-off?
QUESTIONS: Does Russell Brand have any acting technique hiding in his rolled-up sleeves, or is he mostly a thespian that relies entirely on a certain accessible image? Where's that Katy Perry cameo we all heard about?
REWATCHABILITY: There are some laughs here that could last for a second of third viewing. But the lulls between even giggly humor could put one to sleep during certain parts of the film.
Perhaps I’m supposed to be thinking of the man-baby in shambles Pete Doherty? Either way, Russell Brand’s grungy rocker Aldous Snow is difficult to accept due to his irrelevance, especially since he is only a walking concoction of a very general preconceived notion we may have about bratty rock stars. Snow’s tunes like “The Clap” create a ridiculous character, but hardly offer the clever commentary that such an imitation of a real archetype is deserving of. Attempts at parody become dodgy also because pop does not have a worldwide rocker like Aldous for which we can hold up a contextual mirror. The entire joke of Snow’s existence falls semi-flat since it has no tangible target, or it’s at least a decade (or possibly two) late.
There are a few instances when the movie does get the humor right, and it punches it right out of your belly. When Hill is a narcotics dummy trying to keep up with Snow, which is essentially all of the second act, this isn’t the case. There are also a few moments in this movie where segments need a snip here and there (furry walls) to maintain their possible funniness, and other examples where the laughs are cut short by lightning fast editing (heroin shopping).
There’s a legitimate reason why those big suits in Hollywood make spin-offs, but the answer is not found in Aldous Snow – it’s instead witnessed in the bombastic, foaming-at-the-mouth performance by music mogul Sean Combs. With his aggressive, wacked-out character of a music executive, he takes the personality intensities of those we might have heard about in the entertainment business and amps them up to a very amusing extreme. It’s only a bonus that Combs is holding up the aforementioned “contextual mirror” to himself and the tough-love image he has created at the expense of actual musical artists in the real world. A show stealer, he should have his own spin-off movie. But hopefully that event, unlike Get Him To The Greek, would be a no Snow.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10