Review in a Hurry: Dorky intern (Jonah Hill) and cool rock star (Russell Brand) are forced together in a race against time to get the latter to his designated rock concert. As you might expect, hijinks ensue, and they learn things from each other.
Moments of utter hilarity occur, but director Nicholas Stoller seems unsure which of the two is his real protagonist, and the incidents of idiocy are more isolated than escalating.
The Bigger Picture: In this semi-sequel/spinoff to Stoller's Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Brand reprises his pretentious rock star/addict character of Aldous Snow, now matched with a lowly record company intern named Aaron (Hill, playing a distinctly different character from his waiter in Sarah Marshall) who has to get him, on time, to an anniversary concert at L.A.'s Greek Theater, hence the title.
Is Brand an ironic pretentious jackass, or a genuine one? Articles like the recent Rolling Stone cover story cast some doubt on the issue...but on the other hand, the ensuing confusion arguably makes him more believable as an obnoxious rock celebrity who has not only ruined his own life, but also sucks the lives around him into his circle of self-destruction.
Enter Aaron, who pitches the idea of a comeback concert to his hardass boss at the record company, Sergio (a gleefully self-spoofing Sean "Diddy" Combs), and is rewarded by having to play babysitter to the almost literal, over-spoiled baby that is Aldous.
What passes for problematic in Aaron's life is that his gorgeous live-in girlfriend (former West Wing First Daughter Elisabeth Moss) works so hard as a nurse that they rarely get time together; when she introduces the possibility of moving to Seattle where she can support him, he reacts more poorly than someone who looks like Hill should. Thus do they briefly split, and he becomes super-susceptible to the temptations thrown his way by Aldous, on the well-intentioned road to hell that is getting the guy to his show on time.
As profane and awesome as Aldous seems at first, however, you know full well that no mainstream Hollywood film is ultimately going to defend a lifestyle loaded with drugs and irresponsible behavior. So of course it turns out that his life is unexpectedly empty; he constantly pines for his moronically Fergie-esque ex Jackie Q (Rose Byrne), who's now sleeping with Metallica's Lars Ulrich (playing himself, in an overdue bit of pomposity-puncturing parody).
A few gratuitous stripper and vomit jokes later, Aldous and Aaron find themselves involved in various shenanigans—in particular, a semi-climactic moment in Las Vegas involving Aldous' estranged dad (Colm Meaney) gradually ups the ante until things become absolutely, frantically nuts. But between bits like this, we don't always feel the tension; Aaron may be made to take pratfalls at times, but rarely do we genuinely believe he will not get his rock-star charge where he needs to be.
When the laughs hit, however, they hit big. Major props to Diddy, who proved himself as a dramatic actor in Monster's Ball, and may win over even more skeptics in this.
The 180—a Second Opinion: It's unfortunate that Aldous Snow's actual music is so mediocre...unlike similar rock-star parodies (Tenacious D, say, or even Spinal Tap), his is not a band that would inspire many to purchase a soundtrack CD.