Russell Brand makes an unlikely movie star. An ex-junkie with an outrageous wit, enviable command over vocabulary to back it up and a string of scandals (the heroin years, the infamous BBC Radio sacking, the profligate shagging) who never really acts, more so just plays a variation of himself. In Get Him To The Greek he’s turned a supporting character role in a marginal bromance comedy caper (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) into the star attraction. Washed up rocker Aldous Snow (possibly some sort of self-congratulatory knowing riff about the doors of perception and cocaine) was a carnal force of nature in Forgetting… and this time the only way forward is more: more drugs, more debauchery, more uncomfortable situations, more everything. Except laughs. A & R man Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) convinces his boss Sergio Roma (Sean Coombs) that to reverse the fortunes of his ailing record company they should put on a 10th anniversary show celebrating one of Snow’s more famous performances. Green is dispatched to England to get Snow to the Greek Theatre in three days time.
Cue drug and sex fuelled mania; AKA a standard Brand weekend circa 2003. The good things first. Sean Coombs as the head of Pinnacle Records reverses over a decade’s worth of annoying pouting – he’s fantastic, displaying an assured sense of comic timing few would have credited him with. Rose Byrne as Snow’s girlfriend steals the movie with a gloriously louche, leg-splitting performance on live TV. The African Child clip – an uproarious Live Aid spoof – is pitch-perfect. Unfortunately the rest of the film is repugnant drivel. Green adores Snow and goes to any length to enable his hero – smuggling drugs up his arse, letting him screw his girlfriend, sending him out to score him smack. What a chortle. There’s never any recompense – just a rock star being a prick and an all-forgiving crony. This isn’t a clever satire of out of control celebrities. It’s a muddle-headed 90 minute excuse for asshole addicts.