A lot of directors out there have a good eye for crafting comedy. Jody Hill, director of The Foot Fist Way and Observe and Report, has a unique way of teaching us a lesson about the ugly truths of society buried beneath dark comedy. Adam McKay, one of the most in-demand comedy directors, has a way of making broader, more widely-acceptable comedies that draw in huge audiences, mainly for his affiliation with comedy icon Will Ferrell. However, my favorite filmmaker indulging in the craft of comedy is none other than Judd Apatow and his crew, who time after time set the bar for crafting outlandishly hysterical and crude comedy that time and time again leaves us with thought-provokingly real characters, real dialogue, and that endearing sweetness by the time the credits roll. So it’s interesting to see when we take the slower pace of most Apatow films and we crank it up to 11 with a fast-paced, broader style of comedy in the spinoff to the 2008 hit Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the new film Get Him to the Greek. Just to save you the time of reading the rest of the review, it works far better than I could have ever imagined. When we last left Aldous Snow in FSM, he seemed to be on a steady road of recovery, however after losing custody of his child and his former lover Jackie Q, times had gotten harder for Aldous, and he had quickly spiraled back down into a drug and alcohol induced haze. Years later Jonah Hill, who plays record label intern Aaron Greenstone, is sent on a fairly simple plot structure to get highly rebellious Snow to the Greek theater in Los Angeles. The film, written by Apatow and Stoller who also directed the film, proves to be absolutely hysterical. There were times in the film I was doubled over my seat in tears from some of the sheer audaciousness of the play between Hill and Brand. Like with a lot of comedy films, the writers just sorta throw together premises and then just throw jokes at you as the audience hoping a few stick. With Get Him to the Greek, there’s so much effort that goes into building these hysterical premises for the two guys to go through, and as if they were building blocks they just keep adding new elements and bringing new characters into the individual jokes, starting out simple but gradually building and building until 3-5 minutes later you’re in fits of laughter amazed at the writing ability behind what could have been complete throwaway gags for the entire film. Not only was I laughing at the jokes, I began laughing at the situations these characters were in even when there was no real joke there at that time. There are super funny gags that are still hysterical even though the scene may only last a few seconds and there’s no purpose to it. There’s one scene that’s cut really really quick and only lasts for 30 seconds of Hill trying to get Heroin from hotel clerk played by TJ Miller that had me in tears. Joke after joke, it just all meshes together wonderfully. If I did have a complaint, it’s that the pacing can be the smallest bit odd whenever we’re going from really quick shot scenes of Aldous’ parties to scenes where Aaron is having a moment of character development with his girlfriend or Aldous, but that interaction is still required and enjoyable, although it’s a little jarring. Also, the movie at times can feel more outlandish than I thought they were gonna go for, there are times when the Aldous or Aaron are dueling in strip clubs, jumping in fountains, or racing down streets in action-movie-style car chases, but as I’ll say later it’s something that just makes the film even more of an accomplishment. The whole film just goes from gag to gag to gag, some miss, but almost all hit brilliantly, and they’ll keep you entertained. There was the occasional scene or two or unnecessary comedic exposition, but in this case hysterical greatly outweighs the uncomfortable. There’s comedic talent just seeping out of this film, so much I don’t even want to spoil the jokes, I just advise you see this film immediately. I’ve said before, your jokes are only as great as those who are executing them. In this case, as with virtually all of Apatow cinema, there are some incredible performances. Jonah Hill plays the straight man of sorts that Brand has to play off of, and serves as the sort of main emotional emphasis. He plays his character to near perfection, being entirely believable and having so many hysterical parts in the film thanks to the way he plays off the “uncomfortable” and at times radical record label manager. Russell Brand plays his part as Aldous Snow, polishing his part from FSM to perfection as he spews some of the funniest lines in the film with what looks like relative ease for him. The two have great chemistry on screen together and achieve the level of an “Abbot and Costello” of our generation. Kristen Bell makes a cameo of her own as Sarah Marshall that’s fairly funny, TJ Miller has a really brief stint that is one of the funniest gags in the movie, and P Diddy, who plays his character with a fierce determination and stern tone, has one of the best parts in the movie as Jonah Hill’s boss overseeing the trip, and could very well have the best comedic performance of the whole year. Let’s just say you’ll be quoting some of his lines for months. The film is really music-centric, and there’s some great effort that goes into that. Aldous Snow and his ex-girlfriend being musicians, there’s a lot of time in the film dedicated to their performances, and aside from just being catchy tunes, they serve as vehicles for some of the film’s best jokes with the song’s… um… interesting lyrics. “You got the clap, I got the clap, you took the front, I took the back, you got the beat, we got it on the back of the toilet seat…” There’s a performance by Snow at the very end of the film that’s incredible and at the same time hilarious and heartwarming. “Heartwarming” isn’t really something you’d expect to hear from this type of film, but it’s something Apatow thankfully nails right on the head, and it’s the greatest strength of the movie. Amongst all of the wild outlandish gags in the film they still took the time to make the characters real and sweet, giving them things that they’re working towards or to care about, goals and aspirations, that many other directors would neglect. By the end of the film after these characters had went through their own conflicts outside the comedic plot of the film, we reach this emotional payoff and this moment where we really appreciate the characters and we come to love them, we cheer for them until the very end. After all the goofiness in the movie, we’re left with a message and a payoff that works better than other films that entirely focus on rarely achieve. Needless to say after I’ve said all of this, Get Him to the Greek is a film entirely worth seeing. It’s the best comedy I’ve seen this year by far, it’s the best film I’ve seen this summer. The film has some amazing music, it’s really fun to watch, it’s really quickly paced and easy to watch, the film “looks” really good in the cinematography department. The film boasts jokes and gags that we’re going to be talking about for the rest of the summer, and at the same time defies expectations and still gives us that Apatow charm.
5 out of 5