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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Get Him to the Greek

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Like his 2008 debut, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," writer-director Nicholas Stoller's new comedy "Get Him to the Greek" (Universal)—the raucous, frequently coarse tale of an unlikely friendship -- features a few touching moments and some positive underlying values. But, as in the earlier outing, these elements are ultimately eclipsed, in this case by a combination of obscenity-laden dialogue and debauched, sometimes perverse behavior.

Returning from the former film is the character of hedonistic British rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), whose attempts to lead a clean and sober life are scuttled, as we witness in the opening scenes, by a breakup with girlfriend Jackie Q (Rose Byrne)—a pop star in her own right—and by a disastrously unsuccessful record that leaves his career in freefall.

In a bid to revive Aldous' popularity, and improve the flagging fortunes of his own company, timid young music executive Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) strikes on the idea of a comeback concert at Los Angeles' Greek Theater, the site, 10 years previously, of Aldous' most legendary performance.

Aaron manages to sell his hard-bitten boss, Sergio (Sean Combs), on the concept, but finds himself tasked with escorting the wily, wayward rocker—whom Sergio describes as "the worst person on earth"—from London to the Left Coast, and depositing him safely at the Greek in time for the planned performance. To make matters worse, on the eve of his departure, Aaron has a potentially relationship-shredding quarrel with his live-in lover, Daphne (Elisabeth Moss, of "Mad Men" fame).

As Aldous drags Aaron through the depths of his fear-and-loathing lifestyle, and as Aaron encourages Aldous to climb his way back toward sobriety, the ill-matched pair bond.

Stoller's script manages to wring poignancy from scenes where Aaron insists on treating Aldous as a person rather than a marketable commodity and from the musician's loving but fraught relationship with his young son, whom he identifies as his only source of happiness. Along with the growing rapport at the heart of the story, Aaron and Daphne's relationship moves, however indirectly, toward renewed commitment and deepened exclusivity, though there's no hint of marriage.

But along the way to a moderately acceptable wrap-up, this globe-trotting exercise in excess makes detours portraying casual and group sex, a visit to a strip club, and extensive indulgence in drugs and drunkenness. As is typical for a Judd Apatow production, moreover, there's hardly a punch line that's not peppered by the F-word or some other vulgarity.

The film contains brief graphic nonmarital sexual activity, scenes of aberrant sexuality, cohabitation, drug use, some gruesome images, upper female and rear nudity, much sexual humor, a couple of uses of profanity and pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.


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John Bosco: John Bosco’s theory of education could well be used in today’s schools. It was a preventive system, rejecting corporal punishment and placing students in surroundings removed from the likelihood of committing sin. He advocated frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. He combined catechetical training and fatherly guidance, seeking to unite the spiritual life with one’s work, study and play. 
<p>Encouraged during his youth to become a priest so he could work with young boys, John was ordained in 1841. His service to young people started when he met a poor orphan and instructed him in preparation for receiving Holy Communion. He then gathered young apprentices and taught them catechism. </p><p>After serving as chaplain in a hospice for working girls, John opened the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales for boys. Several wealthy and powerful patrons contributed money, enabling him to provide two workshops for the boys, shoemaking and tailoring. </p><p>By 1856, the institution had grown to 150 boys and had added a printing press for publication of religious and catechetical pamphlets. His interest in vocational education and publishing justify him as patron of young apprentices and Catholic publishers. </p><p>John’s preaching fame spread and by 1850 he had trained his own helpers because of difficulties in retaining young priests. In 1854 he and his followers informally banded together, inspired by St. Francis de Sales [January 24]. </p><p>With Pope Pius IX’s encouragement, John gathered 17 men and founded the Salesians in 1859. Their activity concentrated on education and mission work. Later, he organized a group of Salesian Sisters to assist girls.</p> American Catholic Blog How do you expect to reach your own perfection by leading someone else’s life? His sanctity will never be yours; you must have the humility to work out your own salvation in a darkness where you are absolutely alone.

 
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