Get Him to the Greek (R) ★★★½

Review Date: January 7th, 2011

One of the bright spots of the otherwise forgettable 2008 rom-com Forgetting Sarah Marshall was UK funnyman Russell Brand's portrayal of Aldous Snow, a cartoonishly self-involved British rock star and romantic rival to Jason Segel's whiny protagonist. Brand's preening Marc Bolan/Liam Gallagher hybrid garnered the comedian fame that had heretofore proved elusive outside the Commonwealth, paving the way for comedy specials, high-profile hosting gigs, and finally, his very own starring vehicle, Get Him to the Greek. Officially branded as a spin-off of Sarah Marshall, it's one of the few such films that can rightly claim superiority over its forebear.

And it's almost entirely due to Brand, whose charisma and authenticity (you get the sneaking suspicion he isn't acting) as Snow make Get Him to the Greek's riffs on assorted aging-rock-star cliches (ample narcotics, all-night parties, new-age philosophies, vapid groupies, etc.) seem fresh and funny again. Jonah Hill (Superbad) is a worthy foil as Aaron, a record company junior executive charged with the unenviable task of personally escorting the drug-addled, mercurial Snow from London to Los Angeles, where he's due to perform a special comeback concert at the Greek Theatre.

But Aaron soon falls under the spell of the intractable and devilishly charming Snow, and assorted misadventures ensue during their bumpy sojourn from Los Angeles to London — some uproariously funny, others less so, and almost all of them drug-induced. As constructed by writer/director Nicholas Stoller (who also helmed Sarah Marshall), Get Him to the Greek is a hallucinogenic road trip/buddy comedy, Fear and Loathing with an Apatow sensibility. Like its rock-star lead, the film tends to drift and meander at times, with promising jokes fizzling out and subplots going unresolved, but it always regains its moorings, thanks in large part to an inspired comedic performance by Sean "P. Diddy" Combs as Aaron's maniacal music-mogul boss. Like Brand, you get the feeling he might not be acting either. rated this film 3 1/2 stars.