A record company intern is hired to accompany out-of-control British rock star Aldous Snow to a concert at L.A.'s Greek Theater.A record company intern is hired to accompany out-of-control British rock star Aldous Snow to a concert at L.A.'s Greek Theater.A record company intern is hired to accompany out-of-control British rock star Aldous Snow to a concert at L.A.'s Greek Theater.
Brand as Snow is the spectacle, the wild spark that animates the whole film. Snow vacillates wildly from petulant artistic preciousness to aggressive junkie posturing to anarchic drug logic and back. Story-wise, tt's a dangerous thing to chance, as the rock-excess thing has been parodied to near-death. Brand, though, limns the edges of his chaos with occasional moments of human frailty. The film notes late in the going that Snow's self-appointed rock messiah is intelligent, and it's a small ignorable moment that speaks to the subtle bits of originality in the film's script and in Brand's performance: he's a pompous idiotic waster in true rock fashion, but there's a cruel, manipulative intelligence underneath it all that helps the whole film feel fresh and funny, even if it's going over well-trod Spinal Tap ground.
The discovery of the film, though, is Jonah Hill as Aaron Green, the spectacular punching bag at the heart of a film that mercilessly visits every kind of humiliation and degradation on him. He stands square in the furnace blast of Snow's rock-superstar excess and the shrivelling, repeated "mind f__ks" of his conniving, unbalanced boss: he pukes, he's sexually assaulted by more than one person, he's threatened, cursed, party to a stabbing. But what makes Hill's performance truly funny is that while he is in essence a nebbish, a victim, a barf-coated ill-looking cannonball of a man he nonetheless retains a really kind of compelling dignity and oddly endearing self-confidence. There's a depth to Hill's performance in this film (and in Forgetting Sarah Marshall as well) that's actually special. He's not an oversize wild-man, he's not a tiny Michael Cera-esquire mumbler. He's doing something new, and it along with everything else in this film is very very funny. 8/10
- Jun 5, 2010