It's the stuff of nightmares. You're in bed, getting down to business with your girlfriend, you're wearing your favourite band shirt, she's wearing those cute girl Y-fronts you like. And then you see it — out of the corner of your eye — a mop of black curls, a streak of pasty flesh, a flash of red pants... Yes, Russell Brand is slipping under the sheets behind her. He's making a love sandwich and your girlfriend is his designated filling.
This is the hellish scenario with which Aaron (Jonah Hill) is confronted some way into Get Him To The Greek, Nicholas Stoller's new comedy, a not-quite-a-follow-up to Forgetting Sarah Marshall. A series of unfortunate events have led to Aaron's predicament and a few more will be required to get him out of it and get Russell Brand — again playing debauched English rocker Aldous Snow — to the career-resurrecting Greek Theatre gig of the film's title.
Aaron works for a record company, under demonic label boss Sergio (P Diddy). During a meeting to discuss the perilous future of their industry, Aaron suggests a lucrative one-off concert by Aldous, a once-loved star whose career has nose-dived since releasing an ill-advised (and arguably racist) album called African Child. As the brain behind the brainwave, Aaron is charged with getting Aldous from London to an appearance on the Today show in New York, and on to LA for his big comeback.
However, after a few hours in Aldous's presence, it becomes apparent that Aaron's charge is a stubborn, selfish and slippery fish — but also a hoot. Aaron could do with cutting loose a little, and Aldous's extracurricular activities — absinthe sessions, lapdance clubs, heroin smuggling — could be just what Aaron's strung-out doctor girlfriend Daphne (Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss) ordered. (Aldous's idea for a threesome, however, proves less inspired.)
Pardon the Brandism, but Jonah and Russell do make a lovely pair. Brand is all shark-toothed and snake-hipped, but also likeable and sympathetic; Hill as his "affable nitwit" sidekick has a range of facial contortions for expressing "oh god why me" that provide some of the film's biggest laughs. (There's also a nice turn from the delectable Rose Byrne as Aldous's foxy-but-moronic baby mama, Jackie Q.) The plot is pretty clearly mapped out from the beginning — they'll start at A, they'll probably get to B — and the film drags a little during an unscheduled stopover in Vegas, but the dynamic and repartee between the two leads is too much fun to let your mind drift for long. High times, well had.
Get Him To The Greek is out in cinemas on Wednesday