A dreadful unfunny mess for which Director Nicholas Stoller should take full responsibility . Russell Brand is a charismatic talent, Jonah Hill who plays opposite him as record company executive Aaron Green is not. The equal billing and screen time they receive, presumably for the benefit of American audiences, holes the film below the water line from the start. Hill is not up to it, and is miscast. The visual attraction of a tall handsome louche Brand and a short fat ugly Hill, I can accept. What I cannot accept is the total lazy confusion of what happens around them.
The idea is fine, that of a washed up rock star, Aldous Snow, whose career is to be rejuvenated by a 10th anniversary concert . Green is charged with the task of getting Snow from London to the Greek Theatre in LA. That provides a platform for the straight Hill to be subjected to rock n roll depravity by Brand, but the mix doesn’t work. Hill is not written as a foil for Brand, instead he has equal status and the energy drains from the film with every camera shot of him.
Record Company President Sergio Roma, played by Sean Combs , is a character with promise which is wrecked by overuse of profanity and one dimensional characterisation. Beyond that every stereotype, writing by numbers, and cliché supporting cast that you could ever have hallucinated about in your worst nightmares appears here.
The DVD contains an alternative opening and finale, both of which are far superior to those which are on the final edit. In the theatre version a messy, ambiguous, video shoot for Snows latest single is presented as a potential trailer or promo and is highly irritating. The alternative conventional scene of a country house launch party with the video being screened and other characters introduced makes far more sense. Equally a tedious official finish at the inevitably successful concert is vastly inferior to a quite witty alternative .The many deleted and alternative scenes are testament to the fact that Stoller seriously lost the plot here.
The music is uniformly bad, many scenes are superfluous and boring, and the clichés about a rock n roll lifestyle choke the life out of the story. How Stoller and co-writer Jason Segal could have so succeeded with “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” but failed so abjectly with this is a mystery. Although not the worst film I have ever seen, it is close run thing.