I think that many of us can say that we are Apatow Fans. Judd Apatow
is that Hollywood icon who appeals to this generation, where we focus on lovable, realistic schlubs that can complete their own goals. They want to feel content by keeping their happy lifestyle, finding their dream girl, or being in the light of one of their heroes.
Now, while this film is only produced
by Judd Apatow, it definitely has the feel of an Apatow movie, like it's predecessor, Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Jason Segel wrote the movie, and it carries the same director as well. But an important thing to keep in mind with this film is that while it's a spin-off of that movie, the two actors don't have any history from that movie. While Russell Brand
plays the same flaky, but surprisingly deep and talented musician Aldous Snow; Jonah Hill
plays as Aaron Green, who is an obsessive, hard-working intern for a record company filled passion. (In Forgetting Sarah Marshall
, Jonah played as Matthew Van Der Wyk, a fanboy who wanted to get his own work off the ground through worshiping and nagging to Snow)
The film starts by focusing on the wild, rock-star, attention-filled life of Aldous Snow, who is suffering from intense lash-back due to the racist tone of his newest album and single "African Child." This causes him to go into a downward spiral, affecting his personal life with the tabloids and with his girlfriend superstar "Jackie Q" (Played by the incredibly sexy Rose Byrne
.) On the other side of the pond, Aaron Green is getting adjusted to his life as an intern of the record company, where he has to balance his shaky relationship with his nurse girlfriend, Daphne, and the work of his temperamental and demanding company executive, Sergio Roma (Daphne played by Elizabeth Moss
and Sergio played by Sean "Diddy" Combs
) Liking Aaron's idea of starting an Anniversary Concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, Sergio sends Aaron to pick up Aldous Snow and safely take him to New York and Los Angeles within 72 Hours. But once he meets with the drug and party obsessed Snow, Aaron has to try his hardest to keep a handle on his demented musical hero, keep his internship at the record company, and make up his neglectful attitude to his self-sufficient girlfriend.
I can safely say what works about this film, is the humor. In the first few minutes, you will already be laughing from Russell Brand's babbling and from Jonah Hill's quirky improv. I really feel like this is finally the movie where Jonah Hill can shine on his own, because he has been playing a side-character for the longest time. He's not the type of comedian who can go on an intellectual diatribe, but he really has a way of words. Even when he's speaking loudly, whispering obscenities or making silly faces, he's funny as hell. Russell Brand brings his own type of comedy to the screen as well, where he uses his speech patterns to the utmost extent. He brings a level of insanity that makes every situation much more comic than it should be, even when it's supposed to be serious. Jonah Hill and Russell Brand work incredibly well off of each other, mostly because they balance each other out.
They aren't the only ones who shine though in this movie, as the side characters have their own moments as well. When Rose Byrne is acting as a full-on scandalous popstar, she's just as funny as Brand's character. Colm Meaney
plays as Aldous Snow's father and the 15 minutes of screen time he has is one of the most memorable scenes of the movie. There are tons of fun cameos within the movie too, with Aziz Ansari
, Lars Ulrich
of Metallica, and Tom Felton
of Harry Potter fame. They either have something to say, or their popularity is used for a hilarious joke.
The one who really stands out in the movie is P. Diddy. In every single scene he's in, he steals the spotlight from the way he can intimidate anyone
. Even in moments where he's not physically in the room, he's still the most memorable character during the scene. People were cracking up during the movie, but when Sean Combs was on the screen, they were loud and applauding. The more I watched it, it felt like he was acting like Reverend X from The Spirit of Truth videos. Just the way he has those serious mannerisms and says ridiculous things at the same time reminds me of that youtube video. Hell, early in the movie when he's talking 1-on-1 with Jonah Hill's character, he says choice words that just had me (and the audience) dying of laughter.
(To watch the infamous "The Spirit of Truth" video, follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwsWskgKe5E
While this film fully delivers on the comedy, I have to admit that whenever the film gets serious, the flaws really start to show. Jonah Hill and Elizabeth Moss are supposed to have this rocky relationship, but it constantly fluctuates between them making-up and them fighting. It's incredibly scatterbrained on how the relationship should be viewed, because Jonah Hill really acts like an ass towards his partner. It's has some surprises compared to the normal break-up within in a movie, but overall, the romance feels weak and unnecessary to the general plot.
This movie lacks the realistic drama that was in Forgetting Sarah Marshall
. In fact, I can easily say that this movie is way more over-the-top compared to other comedies in this genre, which works for AND against it. Russell Brand's character has his own drama, but the intensity of it comes out of NOWHERE and smashes you in the face. It's built up to a little around his dad, but when it moves to Rose Byrne is where it gets ludicrous. Around that point is when all the flaws of this movie culminate together.
Imagine you are watching a stand-up comedian on stage who has the funniest voice you've ever heard. Then halfway into the act, he pulls out a watermelon, a mallet, and you didn't bring any plastic wrap to protect yourself. The drama in this movie feels like the sticky watermelon bits that you happened to get hit with. It dampens the experience for you since you didn't quite expect it to happen in this kind of entertainment.
I found that the movie was like other Apatow Films where the film should of chopped off about 20 minutes. Not to mention that the editing felt really shoddy when moving from scene to scene. Some scenes are really short, while others appear unnecessarily long. There were a few blank spots in this movie when no one was really laughing at what was going on. I feel like Jonah Hill and Russell Brand can be fun in any setting they are in from the hotel room to the car, but in the middle of the movie, some parts move so quickly that some of the humor gets lost.
And they make some amateur mistakes in this movie as well. I counted THREE TIMES where I could see the microphone still within the shot. And the 2nd time, it was rather obvious that they were stressed for time or they didn't want to do any reshooting, since it was complimented with a shaky, unfocused camera. It was good for a laugh at first, but when you think about it, it makes you shake your head. This might get fixed when this movie gets a wide release, so I'm not sure. It just feels like an obvious mark against the movie from a technical standpoint.
While I would call the first half of the movie to be funnier than the second half of the movie, this movie is still a really solid comedy romp. The humor comes at you quick and at full force time and time again. The audience I sat with was in constant bursts of laughter, just from the scenes that involved a combination of Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, and/or P. Diddy. They even laughed over parts when the actors were still talking, so it does make me to want see it again. It totally hits its mark as party-road trip movie because not only do you get great dialogue, but you get good sex jokes, gross-out jokes, and real-live titties and sex. It just lacks over all depth to take any of it seriously.
In terms of ratings, if you have
seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it's worth paying every last penny
. Get some friends, you'll love it and quote it. You don't need to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but it does help you understand the characters better and you will really laugh at a few jokes the movie throws at you for having the past experience. If you have not
seen that movie and don't have time to rent the previous movie, then it's worth seeing at a Matinee
or having you and your buddies split movie tickets and concessions. This is that type of movie where it's supported by having a crowd.
And if you are curious to how I saw the movie in advance, my college, James Madison University, was running an advanced screening for up to 500 Students thanks to our University Program Board. We get a good amount of movies in advanced.