Saturday, June 5, 2010

Get Him to the Greek

I wasn't crazy about Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which this is a semi-sequel to, although it's funny enough. If I like Get Him to the Greek at least marginally more, its because of the chemistry between Jonah Hill and Russell Brand, and because it irons out some of the flaws from the first film. Sarah Marshall's biggest flaw was that it gave its female leads approximately none of the funny material, and probably 90% of the obnoxious romcom idiot-plot bullshit. You ended up hating them both by the end, and I for one could not give a shit if the boy and girl got together. Greek solves this problem by shuffling the female characters far, far off to the sidelines to focus on the boys. Yeah, the Apatow family still hasn't figured out how to write funny, interesting female characters, but at least they seem aware of that flaw this time.

(Sidenote: Carla Gallo, a pretty, funny actress that I'll always fondly remember from TV's Undeclared, is again trotted out for another humiliating cameo, after appearing as the toe-sucking girl in 40 Year Old Virgin, the period blood girl in Superbad, and the gag-me girl in Sarah Marshall. I won't say what happens here, but as opposed to the Virgin and Superbad scenes, it's not very funny, and makes me wonder why they keep bringing her in to these movies just to debase her. I'll give her credit for her balls, but they need to give her a real role.)

Nicholas Stoller really isn't much of a director yet; there's too much awkwardness and too many scenes with potentially funny ideas that can't seem to find the right pace or punchline. The film starts with a poorly constructed montage that's supposed to explain to the audience the career of Aldous Snow, but mostly mistimes a bunch of jokes in the service of clumsy exposition. A better film would have skipped this and figured a way to work it into the story.

But. BUT! Stoller is showing serious signs of improvement. The comedic centerpiece of this film, involving Hill unknowingly smoking a bizarre drug cocktail known as a "Jeffrey," builds wonderfully in comic intensity until it has the whole audience rolling in the aisles. And, surprisingly, the whole sequence is stolen from Hill and Brand by none other than Sean "Diddy" Combs.

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