Review of Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) R 112min
April 20th, 2008 by Maxim · 5 Comments · 17,076 Views
“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is a comedy directed by Nicholas Stoller who is well known for co-writing Fun With Dick and Jane with Judd Apatow – his directorial debut. It is written by Jason Segel, an actor from a few episodes of CSI and Alias, and most recently was cast in Knocked Up, and now he was also in “Sarah Marshall” in the main role. Judd Apatow produced this film.
The plot: Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is a composer for a TV series who hates his job, but his job also has its benefits – he’s been dating the hot star of the series Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). One day Sarah announces that she’s leaving him for British pop-star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). Peter is destroyed. His step-brother recommends him to go to Hawaii to get over her and have some good time. He arrives to a hotel-resort on O’ahu without reservation, and sensitive receptionist Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis, the star of That 70s Show and also did voice overs for Family Guy and Robot Chicken) gets him a suite for four days for the price of a regular room. Ironically, Sarah and Aldous Snow are also staying at the same resort.
The good: In the beginning I was afraid that this movie is going to turn out as bad as The Heartbreak Kid, but I was pleasantly surprised and two hours after I saw the movie I still have muscle pain from laughing so hard. This movie is funny and sweet. Despite several full frontal takes of Jason Segel (which really shocked the audience the way Borat did in his wrestling scene with that fat guy), it’s actually a great date movie, believe it or not. It’s also nice to see the stars of Knocked Up and Superbad, Jonah Hill as the restaurant host at the resort and Paul Rudd as the surfing instructor. Each one has got their own interesting and funny character: Jonah Hill’s is obsessed with Aldous and keeps trying to demonstrate his audition CD to him, and Paul Rudd’s character is a surfer dude who’s really friendly, but all guests look the same to him and he keeps telling them the bullshit Hawaiians sometimes tell to ignorant tourists as part of their job in the tourist industry. There were many more interesting and funny characters in the movie, including a new couple who just begin to discover each other and also Peter’s step-brother with his wife, played by Saturday Night Live regulars Liz Cackowski and Bill Hader, who was also in Knocked Up. Very funny story, and writing and directing are top-notch. ** Spoiler: One of the funniest parts of the movie was the actual rock opera with puppets that Peter produced **. It reminded me of the cartoons during final credits of Superbad. By the way, this movie also has a scene during final credits, which was funny, but it made me feel rather bad for Kristen Bell because of her role in real life in the That 70s Show as a bimbo. The other fun part was the whole theater experience: I saw people standing up because they could not sit due to some suspense, I heard people scream out things like “You are a slut, Sarah”, and “Run, Peter! Please, Run!”.
Judd Apatow is a producer of Kicking & Screaming (2005), The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), Knocked Up (2007), Superbad (2007), Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007), Drillbit Taylor (2008), and now Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I like his movies (Walk Hard was a major disappointment). His main characters in the movies seem to be these goofy guys who are wasting their lives and are demoralised and silly, but behind the goofiness is usually a guy with a good heart and sweetness. The goofiness and childishness is what makes them so unbearable to women with goals in life and who try to keep their lives organized and who need a real man who can take care of themselves and the family. But the sweetness and good nature is what finally makes women fall for them. Whether Apatow actually influenced script writer and star Jason Segel to write his character this way doesn’t really matter.
The bad: some people will be grossed out or offended of the aforementioned full frontal and sex scenes ala “Team America” and some fun being made and stereotyping of Hawaiians, but I think in one scene or the other all those jokes and less-then-good taste were redeemed.
The summary: it’s a silly but sweet and funny romantic comedy and a great date movie.
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