'Greek': A Brand new comedy 

Aldous Snow is living the rock ’n’ roll nightmare, stuck on the downside of a career sabotaged by canceled gigs, bubble-brained vanity projects and addiction. He’s blazing a path to the front page of the tabloids, his days and nights a blur of sex and drugs, and it’s not just his music that’s suffering.

Enter Aaron Green, the junior record exec determined to resurrect Snow’s career — and jump-start his own — by convincing him to revisit the stage that made him a star, at L.A.’s Greek Theatre. Snow agrees, but following through is last on his list of priorities.

We’ve seen Snow before, spewing vacant New Age platitudes in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008), but “Get Him to the Greek,” in which British comedian Russell Brand reprises the role, gives him a leading man’s depth.

Behind the narcissism and the airhead persona (“War is bad!”) lurks a subtle, redeeming wit.

One of Brand’s gifts is his wide-eyed, childlike charm; as Snow, he’s the kind of guy you just can’t stay mad at.

Aaron (Jonah Hill) learns this the hard way. In “Sarah Marshall,” Hill played a gushing fan to Brand’s oblivious rock god, but this time he’s not so hopelessly fawning; once he musters the nerve, he zings as good as he gets.

Fueling his fire to get to the Greek is Sergio, a music mogul played by Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, whose deranged, profanity-laced tirades rouse Aaron to rein in his hard-partying hero.

As he did in Jon Favreau’s buddy comedy “Made” (2001), Combs pokes fun at his own “gangsta” image, and though he seems to know only one mode — overdrive — he has a naturally likable screen presence.

The same is true of Brand, a gifted physical comedian who emerges in “Greek” as an actor with range. He shares an appealing chemistry with Hill, a veteran of previous Judd Apatow-produced comedies like “Superbad” (2007) and “Sarah Marshall,” and plays the role of an ego-driven junkie quite nicely.

But the key to his performance, and the movie, which earns big laughs from the get-go, is the vulnerability masked by his drinking and ­drugging.

Snow might be an arrogant jerk, but he’s loyal, and as he stumbles into self-awareness, after memorably raunchy misadventures in New York and Las Vegas, the friendship he forges with Aaron, over drinks and one powerfully toxic joint known as a “Jeffrey,” rings engagingly true.

Get Him to the Greek

Three and a half stars

Starring Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Sean Combs, Elizabeth Moss, Rose Byrne
Written and directed by Nicholas Stoller
Rated R
Running time 1 hour 49 minutes

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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