Ah, the spin-off. Without you, we would never know what happened to Joey after Friends, or what it would be like if Joanie loved Chachi. And speaking of Happy Days spin-offs, how about Laverne and Shirley? Mork and Mindy? It seemed like that one show was a cottage industry for minor characters getting their day in court. Anson Williams must be pissed that Potsie never got his own show.
With television, the list of spin-offs goes on and on. Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Ropers from Three’s Company. Uh… Enos from Dukes of Hazzard. But with movies, they are a bit more rare. It seems to be the modus operandi to just commit to sequelizing with the main characters rather than focus on the bit players in the second go-around.
But it happens. From The Fugitive we got U.S. Marshals minus Dr. Richard Kimble. We were lucky enough to be granted the further adventures of the Scorpion King in his eponymously named movie, spun-off from The Mummy Returns. Electra got her own movie after Daredevil, as did Wolverine after the X-Men trilogy. And there have been so many Direct-to-DVD American Pie spin-offs featuring (as I understand it) Stifler’s little brother, I have lost count.
Get Him to the Greek is the further adventures of Aldous Snow, Russell Brand’s very funny character from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. This time, we make due without Jason Segel’s character and instead focus on a low-level record company lackey, played by Jonah Hill, who is tasked with getting rock star Snow from England to The Greek Theater in Los Angeles in 72 hours. Hilarity ensues.
It does, really. Get Him to the Greek is really funny. They don’t overdo what made Russell Brand so great in the first one- in fact, they finally show what they alluded to throughout Sarah Marshall: an off-the-wagon Aldous Snow. Absinthe, heroin, beer, pot, and the best adrenaline shot to the heart since Pulp Fiction– they are such a big part of this movie that they almost become characters rather than plot devices.
Jonah Hill, who I had thought I had figured out and was just about to grow weary off, is great in this. The “Put Upon Weakling Who Discovers Reserves of Strength and Character” trajectory is a bit played-out, but I don’t know, he made me laugh a lot through this. He has a scene where he is coming down off the before-mentioned adrenaline shot that is just about perfect.
You know who else is funny in this? Puff Daddy! Yeah, he is sort of channeling Leon Black from Curb Your Enthusiasm, but whatever- it works. Also Rose Byrne, who I only knew from Damages, as Snow’s out-of-it girlfriend has some of the funniest song snippets in the whole movie.
I won’t spoil the ending, but the title is just about as prophetic as last year’s Drag Me To Hell. Actually, one thing about the ending. Aldous Snow has a compound fracture of the arm for the last 15 or so minutes, and I gotta say… it took me out of the movie a bit. Maybe no one else will have this problem, but speaking as someone who has had a compound fracture, I question his ability to play a concert with that kind of injury.
But maybe that is what makes him Aldous Snow.