Diminishing Returns For Apatow's 'Greek' NPR's Bob Mondello reviews "Get Him to the Greek," a comedy about a recording company agent (Jonah Hill) who's tasked with making sure a drug-addled rock star (Russell Brand) makes it from London to an L.A. concert that's supposed to be his big comeback.
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Diminishing Returns For Apatow's 'Greek'

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Diminishing Returns For Apatow's 'Greek'

Diminishing Returns For Apatow's 'Greek'

Diminishing Returns For Apatow's 'Greek'

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NPR's Bob Mondello reviews "Get Him to the Greek," a comedy about a recording company agent (Jonah Hill) who's tasked with making sure a drug-addled rock star (Russell Brand) makes it from London to an L.A. concert that's supposed to be his big comeback.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Two years ago, a couple of bit players - Jonah Hill and Russell Brand - got some of the biggest laughs in the summer comedy "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." That did not go unnoticed. They've now been given a summer comedy of their own by producer Judd Apatow.

Bob Mondello reviews "Get Him to the Greek."

BOB MONDELLO: The British rock star character in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," Aldous Snow, was a bit of a monster - egotistical, arrogant and clueless, as played by Russell Brand. And fans will be pleased to hear that he hasn't changed a bit.

In "Get Him to the Greek," we see the aftermath of his latest disastrous concept album about war-torn Darfur or Zimbabwe or Rwanda - he's not quite sure which - where he thinks he met his inner African child while doing poverty tourism.

(Soundbite of movie, "Get Him to the Greek")

Mr. RUSSELL BRAND (Actor, Comedian): (as Aldous Snow) (Singing) I have crossed the mystic desert to snap pictures of the poor. I've invited 'em to brunch, let 'em crash out on my floor...

MONDELLO: The album "African Child" may have made Aldous a joke, but music agent Aaron Green, played by Jonah Hill, thinks he has a solution: Get the rock star to do a comeback concert at the Greek Theater in L.A. This is easier said than done, of course, because Aldous has been comforting himself pretty strenuously with drugs, booze and groupies since the debut of "African Child" and is still smarting, as Aaron discovers while talking shop after finally wrestling him onto a plane from London.

(Soundbite of movie, "Get Him to the Greek")

Mr. JONAH HILL (Actor): (as Aaron Green) It seems as if on your last album you kind of went to the studio and just did whatever the producer asked you to do.

Mr. BRAND: (as Aldous Snow) Fine. You know, that's exactly - this is good.

Mr. HILL: (as Aaron Green) It's just, you know, every artist has one album that's just not good and that's it. Honestly, I listened to that and I'm just like what was he thinking?

MONDELLO: Ooh, too much, way too much.

(Soundbite of movie, "Get Him to the Greek")

Mr. BRAND: (as Aldous Snow) In the future, if someone asks you to give them a critique of their work and rip out their gizzards and hold it in front of their face...

Mr. HILL: (as Aaron Green) I'm sorry. Look, I don't know what I'm talking about.

Mr. BRAND: (as Aldous Snow) What you did was very spiteful, but it was also very brave and very honest, and I respect you for doing that. But the content of what you said has made me hate you.

MONDELLO: And two days still to go before the concert.

Jonah Hill and Russell Brand look relaxed together no matter what level of inebriation or awkwardness is required of them. But the movie around them goes kind of sloppy and sentimental whenever it's not being raunchy or gross. And while that's been sort of the blueprint for Judd Apatow comedies, there's a thing called diminishing returns.

Apatow is producer on this one, not director, let's note, and you get a definite sense of a talented second string being given a chance to shine. The thing is: Some really terrific supporting players maybe aren't cut out to be stars. A "Romeo and Juliet" spinoff called Mercutio and the Nurse wouldn't cut it. And the Aldous and his fan spinoff in "Get Him to the Greek" is a little thin too - actors notwithstanding.

Great in support, these characters can't really support a whole movie.

I'm Bob Mondello.

(Soundbite of movie, "Get Him to the Greek")

Mr. BRAND: (as Aldous Snow) (Singing) ...African child trapped in me.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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