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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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Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and Companions: This first native Korean priest was the son of Korean converts. His father, Ignatius Kim, was martyred during the persecution of 1839 and was beatified in 1925. After Baptism at the age of 15, Andrew traveled 1,300 miles to the seminary in Macao, China. After six years he managed to return to his country through Manchuria. That same year he crossed the Yellow Sea to Shanghai and was ordained a priest. Back home again, he was assigned to arrange for more missionaries to enter by a water route that would elude the border patrol. He was arrested, tortured and finally beheaded at the Han River near Seoul, the capital. Paul Chong Hasang was a lay apostle and married man, aged 45. 
<p>Christianity came to Korea during the Japanese invasion in 1592 when some Koreans were baptized, probably by Christian Japanese soldiers. Evangelization was difficult because Korea refused all contact with the outside world except for bringing taxes to Beijing annually. On one of these occasions, around 1777, Christian literature obtained from Jesuits in China led educated Korean Christians to study. A home Church began. When a Chinese priest managed to enter secretly a dozen years later, he found 4,000 Catholics, none of whom had ever seen a priest. Seven years later there were 10,000 Catholics. Religious freedom came in 1883. </p><p>When Pope John Paul II visited Korea in 1984 he canonized, besides Andrew and Paul, 98 Koreans and three French missionaries who had been martyred between 1839 and 1867. Among them were bishops and priests, but for the most part they were lay persons: 47 women, 45 men. </p><p>Among the martyrs in 1839 was Columba Kim, an unmarried woman of 26. She was put in prison, pierced with hot tools and seared with burning coals. She and her sister Agnes were disrobed and kept for two days in a cell with condemned criminals, but were not molested. After Columba complained about the indignity, no more women were subjected to it. The two were beheaded. A boy of 13, Peter Ryou, had his flesh so badly torn that he could pull off pieces and throw them at the judges. He was killed by strangulation. Protase Chong, a 41-year-old noble, apostatized under torture and was freed. Later he came back, confessed his faith and was tortured to death. </p><p>Today, there are almost 5.1 million Catholics in Korea.</p> American Catholic Blog We never think of connecting violence with our tongues. But the first weapon, the most cruel weapon, is the tongue. Examine what part your tongue has played in creating peace or violence. We can really wound a person, we can kill a person, with our tongue.

 
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