Review: Get Him To The Greek

(MA15+) ***

Director: Nicholas Stoller.

Cast: Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, Elisabeth Moss, Rose Byrne, Sean Combs.

SEX, drugs and rock 'n' roll - it's a theme that's long been played out for comedic effect, from Spinal Tap to Almost Famous.

While Get Him To The Greek isn't in the same concert hall as those two films, it's still a worthy take on music's holy trinity.

A spin-off from the Jason Segel-penned so-so rom-com Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Brand reprises his role of Aldous Snow, a rock star off the rails and on the gear after breaking up with his popstar girlfriend Jackie Q (Byrne) and releasing an album African Child, which is hilariously described as "the worst thing to happen to Africa since apartheid".

In an attempt to revive Snow's career and his label's flagging fortunes, Pinnacle Records' employee Aaron Green (Hill) suggests holding a 10th anniversary concert of Snow's famed Greek Theatre concert. The only difficulty is that Aaron has to get Snow to the show.

The opening of Get Him To The Greek has so much promise - in the first 10 minutes, the film manages to skewer rock egos, the public's love of a paparazzi-watched breakdown, the idiocy of record labels and the music industry as a whole.

This satirical edge disappears quickly, giving way to a mixture of American gross-out/sex humour and English uncomfortable comedy, which works alright for the most part thanks to the perfectly cast Brand, the able support of Hill and some great one-liners from Sean "Puff Daddy/P. Diddy" Combs as Pinnacle Records' head honcho.

Where the film doesn't work is in its attempts to draw laughs from some dark places its light tone can't quite reach - suicide, heroin use, father-son relationships and a cringeworthy threesome all get wheeled out as comedic possibilities to no avail.

But elsewhere it's really funny, particularly if you dig Brand's schtick. Comedy newcomer Byrne is brilliant as Snow's vacuous popstar girlfriend, and some of the cameos are great, particularly Lars Ulrich.

There is a feeling this could have been so much more and many of the emotional subplots fall flat, but there are enough laughs to make this worth the ticket. To put it in rock 'n' roll terms, you'd go to the gig but you wouldn't buy the t-shirt.

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