Get Him to the Greek, Nicholas Stoller, 108 mins (15)
Good Hair, Jeff Stilson, 95 mins (12A)

Brand's mad dash is going nowhere fast

You show me a film with Judd Apatow's name on the credits, and I'll show you a film that should be 15 minutes shorter.

However much you may enjoy the comedies he's directed (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up) and produced (Superbad, Pineapple Express), they always feel like extended DVD edits with the deleted scenes slotted back in. That may not be much of a problem in Apatow's standard-issue male-bonding larks, but it's fatal in a ticking-clock farce where time is supposed to be of the essence. Exhibit A: Get Him to the Greek.

A sequel of sorts to 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it features Russell Brand as the Russell Brand-like rock star he played in that film. He's now a washed-up drug fiend, but his biggest fan, Jonah Hill, works for his record company, and believes he can revive Brand's career with an anniversary concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Hill's boss, Sean "Puff Daddy/P Diddy/etc" Combs, goes along with the idea, but for reasons which are as vague as the rest of the film's plotting, the deal isn't finalised until three days before the concert. Hill's job is to ensure that Brand gets from London to LA in one piece, even if he falls to pieces himself in the process.

It should be a hair-raising dash, and yet, because Get Him to the Greek is produced by Apatow, it's going nowhere fast. Brand's character may be a pain in Hill's rear (literally, on occasion), but he's not the human hurricane that would give the film a sense of jeopardy, and the delays in the journey have less to do with his not-very-wild, wild-man antics than with the rambling chats he has with his dad (Colm Meaney), his ex-wife (Rose Byrne), and anyone else he bumps into. Set pieces dawdle by in no particular order, and there's never any danger that Hill won't get him to the Greek on time.

Lazy as the film might be, there are funny moments scattered through it. Brand has his usual unique way with a florid turn of phrase, and he plumbs some hidden depths when he's baring the anger and loneliness beneath the dandy highwayman mask. Hill, though alarmingly egg-shaped, is an endearingly vulnerable fall guy. And Combs is a revelation, too, as he lends his scenes an urgency that's lacking in the others. These three characters all deserve a better film – preferably one that isn't an Apatow production.

Good Hair is Chris Rock's documentary about the black female hair industry in America, a gigantic enterprise built not just on its customers' self-loathing – the whole beauty business is guilty of that – but on their ethnic inferiority complexes. What does it say about black pride when so many African-American women, up to and including Michelle Obama, have their hair straightened with scalp-melting chemical "relaxers", and many more of them wear "weaves" of long, straight, primarily Asian off-cuts?

Rock doesn't get to the roots of the issue. Although his interviewees include Maya Angelou and the Rev Al Sharpton, he'd always rather crack a one-liner than ask a tough question. But he's a witty guide to a startling phenomenon. In one scene, some black students confess that they wouldn't employ anyone who kept her "natural" hair. In another, a hairdresser loses a styling contest because it's deemed unoriginal to cut a client's hair while hanging upside down from a trapeze.

Also Showing: 27/06/10

The Collector (90 mins, 18)

More gore from the writers of Saw IV and Saw V, as various cyphers are gouged and gutted in a booby-trapped house. The villain is a motiveless non-entity, but if you enjoy watching people have their bodies rammed with sharp implements, then you'll get exactly what you paid for.

Villa Amalia (94 mins, 15)

Isabelle Huppert plays a concert pianist who decides to quit her career, sell her flat, and embark on a completely different life. The details of her Reggie Perrin-ish disappearing act are interesting, but there's not much else going on.

When in Rome (90 mins, PG)

When Kristen Bell attends her sister's wedding in Rome – a wacky olde-worlde place where mobile phones and the internet don't work – she pinches five coins from the fictitious "fountain of love" (why not a genuine Roman fountain?) thereby causing the five men who deposited the coins to fall under her spell. File alongside Letters To Juliet in a box marked, "Why Hollywood Rom-Coms Should Be Banned From Shooting in Italy".

Next Week:

Nicholas Barber sings along to When You're Strange, a documentary about his favourite band, the Doors

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee