I was skeptical about Get Him to the Greek.
First of all, I initially thought that “the Greek” was a person, connoting in my mind an unnecessary action flick the likes of Lucky Number Slevin or In Bruges.
Then, I worried I’d wind up feeling the way I did after Knocked Up or Forgetting Sarah Marshall — half amused, half scratching my head at why people love these movies. Enough to buy them and everything. I mean shit, have you seen Jawbreaker? Now that’s a film.
(I’m kind of ignoring Funny People here, since that was a part of Genre Apatow and yet much more substantial.)
Other concerns included Puff Daddy — oh, I’m sorry, the actor Sean Combs — and Russell Brand, who is arguably insufferable and definitely engaged to Katy Perry, cream filling and all.
But fuck everything, Get Him to the Greek was fantastic. I might see it again. In theaters! With more real money!
Why? Several reasons:
1. It avoided, like, every movie pitfall imaginable.
I was anticipating a lot of Odd Couple-style antics, after which Jonah Hill would learn to Loosen Up, all the while inspiring Brand to Clean Up His Act. Ugh.
But Greek dodged the Odd Couple bullet — and likewise avoided wasting excessive amounts of time making fun of celebrities. Yes, Russell’s rock star character went a little kwassa kwassa and released a condescending album called African Child, and yes, his erstwhile lover Jackie Q keened it up in an anal-sex-themed music video whilst dabbling in kabbalah, but it was all very tolerable.
Last, only two objects were inserted into Jonah Hill’s rectum. And I mean, honestly — if I’m being honest — I think three would have been pushing it.
2. Nothing happened.
In one of my favorite movies, Adaptation., screenwriter Charlie Kaufman sets out to write a script where his characters don’t grow or change, where there aren’t any car chases or tortuous love affairs, because life isn’t really like that. Then he learns that life really is like that — plus drugs and (spoiler alert) deus ex alligators. It’s fun.
I think Get Him to the Greek, actually, was the film that movie-Kaufman was trying to write. There are drugs and shit, sure, but the characters don’t really grow or change in the conventional sense.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the film had no climax. It reflects pretty much what would happen if two real people traveled from London to L.A. with various stops. You know — hijinks, absinthe, and microscopic self-epiphanies that go pleasantly uncelebrated.
3. Elisabeth Moss.
I spent the entire movie trying to figure out who was playing Jonah Hill’s girlfriend. “She was in the West Wing,” LL Cool J whispered, as if I would recognize anyone from a show that lacked a significant Jessica Walter presence.
But IMDb revealed that said gf was portrayed by Elisabeth Moss… the childlike burn victim from Girl, Interrupted! How delightfully random!
No but really, it was delightful. Throughout the film, Moss is a pleasing blend of cute and quirky that made me want to date her.
4. Russell Brand, man.
Listen, I hate Russell Brand. He’s not funny, he’s dirty, and he’s universally celebrated by MTV, Judd Apatow, and seemingly fucking everyone for a career based on parody songs, facial hair, and being British.
In Get Him to the Greek, though, Brand retrospectively earned all of that aplomb. He mastered the film’s emotional scenes — facial close ups and everything — achieving all the while a rather unparalleled level of sexiness of the I-want-to-be-you-AND-I-want-to-be-with-you variety.
…probably because Brand’s Aldous Snow is the epitome of everything I’ve ever strived to be: successful, self-destructive, and sporting visible hip bones. Omigod.
5. The soundtrack, yo.
I love the Greek soundtrack. Certain songs are just fun, like “F.O.H.” (fuckin’ on heroin) and “The Clap” (a rhythmic play on the classic STD), but two tracks have actually brought me close to tears — at work — offering that brand of sternum-crushing, butterfly-inducing emotional warfare that Brand does so well: “Going Up” and (no lie) “Bangers, Beans and Mash.”
Both songs are poignant and catchy, with simple song structures that are surprisingly effective at tugging on my heart strings. This is especially true of “Going Up,” as it coincides with a super-moving scene in the film that I can’t help but think of every. single. time.