Movie Review: Get Him to the Greek

Last weekend, persuaded by above-average reviews and a recommendation from my friend Jaime, I saw Get Him to the Greek, directed by Nicholas Stoller and produced by one Judd Apatow. Yeah, I know it’s the kind of blasé summer movie I complained about in my last review. I have to admit, though, I occasionally enjoy those frat-boy movies; I even own Knocked Up on DVD (with matching coasters!). And so when I headed to the movies, I hoped that Get Him to the Greek would prove to be another enjoyable comedy.

Get Him to the Greek is a spin-off/sequel of sorts for the 2008 comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The movie stars Jonah Hill (Funny People) as Aaron Green, an ambitious intern at a record company. One day the head of the label, Sergio (Sean “Diddy” Combs, A Raisin in the Sun), puts Aaron in charge of escorting rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand, reprising his role from Forgetting Sarah Marshall) from London to L.A.

Aaron, a huge fan of Aldous Snow, is thrilled at the opportunity and leaves for London immediately. Snow, however, has been at a low point in his career since the release of his infamous single “African Child”. He’s turned to drugs, alcohol, and may or may not be facing an existential crisis. Basically, it won’t be an easy task for the straight-laced Aaron to get Aldous Snow to his 10th anniversary concert at the Greek Theater.

I really wanted to like Get Him to the Greek, really. And some parts of it are absolutely hilarious (like the video I linked to above). This is one of those things I never thought I would write, but Diddy was great as Sergio. He had some of the movie’s best lines (“Do you have any ideas how many Air Jordans six black kids wear?”) but I kind of feel he was playing an over-the-top version of himself. I can’t complain about Hill and Brand’s performances either. I thought Rose Byrne (Damages, 28 Weeks Later) was a standout though, as Aldous’ ex-girlfriend, pop-star Jackie Q. I first noticed her in Troy, opposite Brad Pitt, and I’m glad she can do comedies as well as dramas.

So, despite the good performances, why didn’t I like the movie? Honestly, a lot of the humor just wasn’t for me. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I can only take so many jokes about drugs/sex/vomit. Perhaps that’s why I found the tone to be really uneven- alternately funny and dull. Plus, like so many Apatow-produced movies, it dragged on just a bit too long. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but there are two particular plot points that were very out of place. As a whole, Get Him to the Greek just didn’t work for me. Aldous Snow says “When the world slips you a Jeffrey, stroke the furry wall” but I rather not.

Have you seen Get Him to the Greek? What do you think?

~ Sarah

5 Reasons I’m Excited About the World Cup

Soccer City Stadium, site of the World Cup Final

We’re now less than 24 hours away from the start of the most prestigious international football tournament. I’ll be honest: I’m not always passionate about soccer. Call me a bandwagon fan if you want, but I can’t help but be caught up in the excitement for the World Cup! Here are the top five reasons I’m looking forward to the World Cup:

5. The tournament has already been a wild ride.

The Adidas Jabulani, the official World Cup ball.

When it comes to big-time athletic competition, some injuries will happen. For this year’s World Cup, the injuries started early. David Beckham, one of the world’s most famous footballers, has been out for months. England’s captain Rio Ferdinand was also injured, so Steven Gerrard is stepping into the role. Just last week, Ivory Coast’s striker Didier Drogba broke his elbow and underwent surgery. North Korea incorrectly listed one of their players as a goalkeeper, and now he won’t be able to play as a striker. Plus, the official match ball the Adidas Jabulani has been met with mostly negative reviews from both keepers and field players. You can’t make this stuff up.

4. The U.S. has a shot.

Forward Herculez Gomez & Midfielder Stuart Holden

Granted, no one expects the U.S. to actually win the World Cup. Still, coach Bob Bradley has assembled a squad that’s exciting to watch. In last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup (a warm-up of sorts for the World Cup), the U.S. upset powerhouse Spain 2-0 in the semi-finals, only to lose to Brazil 3-2 in the final game. The team has seasoned veterans, including goalkeeper Tim Howard plus Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, as well as young studs, like José Francisco Torres. There are still some question marks concerning injuries and the defense, but the U.S. will benefit from drawing a favorable group. The team’s first match is Saturday against rival England (2:30 P.M. EST, ABC).

3. Africa

Nelson Mandela with the World Cup trophy

This World Cup is the first-ever to be hosted in the African Continent. South Africa beat out Morocco and Egypt in the bidding process to host the tournament. It hasn’t even been two decades since democracy began in the country once torn apart by apartheid. In South Africa, people still perceive “soccer [the sport] of the black man” despite its popularity.  The continent has a reputation for being a land of endless famine and war, but many countries are making progress. Historically, home-grown teams do well in the tournament, so expect an African team to be successful (the best bet: Ivory Coast).The World Cup is a chance for both continent and country to shine.

2. Media Buzz

Time Magazine Cover

If you watch as much Sportscenter as I do during the summer, you know ESPN is hyping the World Cup like nobody’s business. Of course, the network is broadcasting all the games, but they are relentless with their advertisements, segments, and previews. Some commercials even star South African actor Djimon Hounsou. (It’s not like ESPN has to convince Americans everywhere that we’re a soccer-obsessed country like the rest of the world or anything.) Last week in the mail, I got the latest issue of Time (pictured above). It’s the best issue I’ve seen in a while, and it discusses the cultural and political impact of the World Cup. If you’re excited at all about the World Cup, I definitely recommend you pick up a copy. Oh, and then there’s this epic commercial: 

1. It’s the World Cup. Duh.

The World Cup, like the world’s other great sporting competitions, is an event. Die-hard soccer fans have been looking forward to tomorrows since Italy won the last World Cup in 2006. (And who can forget that game, with Zidane’s headbutt seen around the world?) Like the Olympics, it’s hard not to get swept up in national pride when watching the World Cup. Let’s face it Americans: soccer is the world’s sport- it’s egalitarian and has the power to unite people.  

The World Cup kicks off tomorrow with South Africa facing a talented Mexico team (9:30 AM EST, ESPN). Are you going to watch? And who are your favorites?

~ Sarah

Girl Crush: Tina Fey

Girl Crush is a new weekly feature in which I discuss a leading lady in show business: talented, admirable, and successful.

Tina Fey on Weekend Update

I’ve been a fan of Tina Fey for years, back when she was the first-ever female head writer at Saturday Night Live and co-anchored “Weekend Update” with Jimmy Fallon. It was always my favorite segment- I wouldn’t go to bed until I watched Fey and Fallon engage in their usual witty banter.

Tina Fey, 40, grew up in Pennsylvania and went on to attend the University of Virginia, graduating with a B.A. in drama. (True story: I seriously considered applying to UVA after I found out Fey went there.) After college, she relocated to Chicago and eventually joined Second City, a famous improv comedy troupe. Following her stint at Second City, she joined SNL as a writer in 1995. In 1999, she was promoted to head writer and the next year Fey began appearing in sketches, notably “Weekend Update”.

For plenty of people, SNL is usually the peak of their careers. Not for Tina Fey- in 2004, while still on the show, she wrote and co-starred in the teen classic Mean Girls. The movie proved to be a critical and commercial success, grossing $129 million worldwide. Then, in 2006, Tina Fey left SNL to work on a new project: 30 Rock.

The Cast of 30 Rock

On the NBC comedy , Tina Fey is a triple threat: writer, producer, actor. Oh, and did I mention she’s also the show’s creator? 30 Rock, which is a behind-the–scenes look at comedy sketch show and is based on Fey’s own experiences, was not immediately a hit with audiences. Nonetheless, the show has won numerous awards, including three Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series. Fey herself has earned plenty of accolades for playing Liz Lemon, including an Emmy.

In 2008, Fey starred in Baby Mama with her former SNL co-star Amy Poehler- the comedy opened at #1 and eventually grossed more than $60 million. That fall, Fey returned to SNL in a guest role as VP candidate Sarah Palin. Her spot-on portrayal of Palin helped boost the show’s lagging ratings and had audiences and pundits alike talking. Not only did she win another Emmy, Tina Fey was named the 2008 AP Entertainer of the Year for having the year’s “greatest impact on culture and entertainment”.

Fey at the 2008 Emmy Awards

It must be awesome to be Tina Fey. Today, 30 Rock has a growing audience and she had another box-office hit with Date Night. And I have a feeling there’s more to come for this comedy superstar- who knows, with the right material she could EGOT! (Tracy Jordan would be jealous.) Fey is one of the most influential people in show business, even appearing in the Time 100, but her life is not very Hollywood- she keeps working hard and has a daughter with husband (and 30 Rock composer) Jeff Richmond. Maybe that’s why, despite all her success, she remains grounded and humble (just listen to one of her acceptance speeches). I absolutely adore her- she’s talented, smart, and sexy. So Tina Fey, I salute you, you “mavericky” maverick.

~ Sarah

P.S. Do you love Tina Fey as much as I do? Which women in entertainment do you look up to?