Raunch Knows No Bounds in Get Him to the Greek
- Monday, June 07, 2010
DVD Release Date: September 21, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: June 4, 2010
Rating: R (for strong sexual content and drug use throughout, and pervasive language)
Run Time: 109 min.
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Actors: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Elisabeth Moss, Sean Combs, Colm Meaney, Rose Byrne
When will Hollywood grow up?
Get Him to the Greek, a spin-off of the 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, is the latest film from producer Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up). If you've seen Apatow's earlier films, or read any reviews here of those films, you know what's in store: A male protagonist will face a relationship crisis and will, through a series of outrageous scenes built on gross-out gags and explicit sexual references, come to a new, more mature place. Get Him to the Greek has two such characters—Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) and Aaron Green (Jonah Hill)—and as much raunchy humor as fans of those actors, and of producer Apatow, have come to expect.
Needless to say, a little bawdy humor goes a long way, and Get Him to the Greek goes much further than the bounds of good taste allow. That's part of the movie's calculus, of course—it offers scenes designed to shock and scenes that will, the filmmakers hope, lead to can-you-believe-that moments of laughter. But where else can they go that they haven't already gone? And am I the only person left who finds the mainstreaming of jokes involving sexual "threesomes" to be anything but funny?
The plot revolves around Aaron, who works at a struggling record label. His boss (Sean Combs) is desperately seeking ideas to turn around the company's fortunes. Aaron knows just the thing: an anniversary concert designed to resuscitate the flailing career of Aldous Snow, a rocker whose earlier attempt at social consciousness, a woefully misguided project titled "African Child," sent his career into a tailspin. The record exec likes the idea and assigns Aaron the task of retrieving Snow from England and flying him to the Greek Theater in Los Angeles for the comeback concert.
Aaron's big opportunity coincides, and conflicts, with a major career opportunity for his live-in girlfriend, Daphne (Elisabeth Moss), who has a better job waiting for her in another city. Will Aaron sacrifice his own career dreams to move with Daphne to a new town? Not a chance. They break up over the phone, and the unforeseen split leaves Aaron vulnerable to the libidinous Aldous' impulsive, single-minded hedonism. Instead of agreeing to take the first flight back to the States for the big show, Aldous leads Aaron into one fleshly indulgence after another: sex in bathroom stalls, drugs anytime they want them, and other forms of rock-and-roll debauchery.
While Aaron tries to find a way to work things out with Daphne, Aldous chases after an old flame (Rose Byrne) who claims to have moved on and grown up, but isn't adverse to revisiting the best part of her earlier relationship with Aldous: the sex. When that doesn't pay the hoped-for dividends, Aldous insinuates himself directly into Aaron's and Daphne's strained relationship, joining them for a threesome that somehow leads Aaron and Daphne to realize just how much they truly love each other.
Get Him to the Greek, like other Apatow projects, revels in sexual high jinx as a lead up to the moment when the film's characters decide to grow up and mend their ways. But that maturation feels badly tacked on here. Apatow and writer/director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) are simply going through the motions this time out, resulting in a film where even the effective moments of humor and pathos (yes, there are a few) are more fleeting and inconsequential than ever before.
The lack of payoff in Get Him to the Greek shouldn't be surprising in a summer of tired franchise films, sequels and reboots. We're still waiting for the unexpected breakout hit (imagine!) that won't make mature audiences blush with embarrassment. Maybe Hollywood will figure out—or remember—how to make such movies as soon as we stop lining up for tickets to facile films such as this one.
Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at crosswalkchristian@hotmail.
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