Review: Forgetting Sarah Marshall
PLOT: When a composer finds himself getting dumped by his girlfriend, the lead actress on the television show he works on, he sinks into a deep depression. Through the urging of his friends, he decides to get away from it all and vacation at a beautiful Hawaiian resort. Once there, he finds that his ex and her new man had the same idea. Both decide to stay, which only makes them question whether they are meant to be together, or whether they should stay apart. But being constantly reminded of her makes it increasingly hard for him to forget.
Yes, it’s that time again. Time to declare my love to yet another Apatowlicious comedy. FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL is a near perfect romantic comedy with heart, soul and balls (well, penis actually). It is so refreshing to really enjoy a comedy, one which I continually laugh throughout. And with SARAH, I felt that kind of goosebumpy goodness that I had when I saw KNOCKED UP. This is the kind of movie romantic comedies should be. And most importantly, the humor comes from a very real place. Occasionally, it gets a little silly and over the top, but never to the point that is becomes distracting. I love these films because they really are character driven and when they drift into vulgar territory, it doesn’t feel like it is out of place. So when the dirty jokes and the f-bombs come around it just makes the characters feel more true to life. And if memory serves me well, I think this is a tad cleaner than Knocked Up and SUPERBAD, but it is still funny as hell.
This time around, Nicholas Stoller makes his directorial debut, but I get the feeling Mr. Apatow was probably somewhere in the background cheering him on. It is a simple story of a man named Peter (Jason Segel, who also wrote the script) who has just been dumped by his television star girlfriend Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). It may be the funniest break up scene ever, partly due to Segel, and his willingness to let it all hang out. Yes, his pecker is shown fairly often as he pleads with the love of his life to reconsider while he stands completely naked before her. Peter tells Sarah when she urges him to get dressed, that he won’t, because once he does their relationship is over. And with all the humor, there is a touch of sadness to this. His desperate plea to stay while he is standing literally and figuratively naked in front of her. Sure its funny, and it may make quite a few guys that freak out over male nudity very uncomfortable, but the humility he is feeling… man, that is one f*cked up way to get dumped.
After the break up, Peter decides to go on a vacation, with the encouragement of his brother-in-law Brian (the always funny Bill Hadar). He urges him to get away, and so he does. But once he arrives at a beautiful Hawaiian resort that Sarah loved, he realizes she had the same idea. It is then Peter meets the other man, an obnoxious-poseur rock star named Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). When their chance meeting occurs, what could have been a dumb, by-the-numbers comedy of errors, turns into an engaging and hilariously funny time well spent in the cinema. And it gets even better when Peter meets Rachel, one of the hotel staff. The two share a wonderfully sweet chemistry. And no wonder, Mila Kunis as Rachel is quite simply stunning. She lights up the screen every damn time she appears. She makes it easy to forget Sarah Marshall.
The biggest complaint I hear in regards to the Apatow gang is the length of the films. And frankly, it doesn’t bother me. That said, there are a few moments somewhere close to the final act that I think audiences might find a bit long. Again, I don’t have a problem with it because the characters are so richly drawn out, that I don’t mind a little extra time with them. So if length bothered you before, it might here, even though I think this feels a bit shorter than the previous films. And even though I’ve really liked Jonah Hill in the previous films, I thought he was only fine here. He reminded me of the creepy character he played in EVAN ALMIGHTY. It worked some of the time, but I think there could have been another actor to make the part more interesting. Yet he still made me laugh, so there you go.
Sarah Marshall, much like THE FORTY YEAR OLD VIRGIN, KNOCKED UP, SUPERBAD and even WALK HARD, is a smart comedy that isn’t afraid to get dirty. I think there was probably a little more sex here, but the language didn’t seem to be as prevalent as the other films, although I could be wrong on that. But it is still crude enough that it is a perfect date movie for the guys and the girls. This is an honest and hilarious take on relationships that might ring true to anyone out there who knows what its like to have their heart broken. But it never gets overly sentimental, because it always seems to inject humor when needed. If you are a fan of the previously mentioned films, you will love Sarah Marshall. I also can’t forget to mention the scene-stealing performance from Paul Rudd as a stoner surf instructor. Add to that a new take on Dracula, with puppets and song, and you have a movie very much worth remembering.
My rating 9/10 -- JimmyO
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