April 19, 2008
Review - " Forgetting Sarah Marshall " (in Theaters) - By Roland Hansen
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Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Directed by : Nicholas Stoller
Written by: Jason Segel
Starring: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand
Screenwriter and star Jason Segel told New York Times interviewer Dave Itzkoff
that both the naked breakup and Dracula puppet musical scenes were drawn
from his real life experiences. In the article, Segel admitted that he really did
once have a girlfriend who broke up with him while he was completely naked
(although rather than being devastated during it, he thought to himself, "This is
hilarious. I cannot wait for her to leave so I can write this down.") And before he
was a successful actor, Segal tried to write a musical adaptation of "Dracula" for
puppets. There is a somewhat sexist double standard when it comes to nudity in
the movies. Female nudity is done primarily to whet the salacious appetites, to
arouse the primarily young male audience. Male nudity is done for laughs.
Naked women are seen as sexy, seductive. While naked men are seen as funny
or pathetic. Many people (generally women) complain that female nudity is
exploitive of women. Imagine how they might feel exploited if their naked bodies
were laughed at instead of admired.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (A Judd Apatow Production), is the story of Peter Bretter (Jason Segel, - “How I Met Your
Mother”) a lovable but lazy music composer for a stereotypical television crime drama. He has the perfect job that he
secretly hates, all the while dreaming of writing a puppet rock-opera with Dracula as the main character. When his
television-star girlfriend, Sarah Marshall (Kristin Bell – “Veronica Mars”), dumps him, he takes the part one would expect of
a girl who just got dumped. His brother suggests he go on a vacation in order to take his mind off her. Broken-hearted and
crying like a schoolgirl, Peter decides to follow this advice and runs off to Hawaii. But who does he run in to at the resort
hotel, his ex and her new musician boyfriend, Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), well known for being a famous lothario. Peter
does not want to appear weak and run away, so he sticks it out and stays at the hotel regardless. The heartbreak
continues despite being surrounded by the most beautiful scenery in the world, until encouraged by friends to secure a
date with the hotels lovely receptionist Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis, “That 70's Show”). What follows is a funny motion picture
featuring great cameos and one liners that'll leave you in stitches.
The casting and comedic pacing was done very well and though it may not be a cinematic heavy hitter, it was very good for
a directing debut and it was what movies all strive to be, entertaining.
Segel wrote the script and stars in the movie, proving that, as often is the case, the writer is best suited for the leading role.
While you sympathize with the Peter’s heartbreak, Segel deserves kudos for not completely victimizing his character and
demonstrating the flaws and faults on both sides of the relationship. The writing flows with well-timed jokes, apathetic digs,
and a whole lot of vulgar humor. The script is consistently funny throughout, and really hones in on the hilarious one liners
and awkward situational humor that seem to be the strength of most Apatow movies. Segal has definitely elevated himself
into a solid comic lead. You can't help but feel bad for the guy as things gradually go from bad to worse for him. Segel is
great in this role, but that should be no surprise since he wrote the part for himself based on real-life experiences.
Mila Kunis completely makes us forget about her days as the dumb hottie on "That 70's Show" and makes us fall in love
with her character along with Peter. Her character is intelligent, charismatic, and appreciative of the good in people, a
strong juxtaposition to the seemingly selfish starlet Sarah Marshall. Kunis owns the role with pride. Her chemistry with Segel
is completely believable. You truly believe that Rachel and Peter are at the beginning of something special.
Russell Brand plays a ridiculous parody of a British rocker scenes with a self-effacing role of utter rockstar stupidity. At
times he is a bit over-the-top but he gets some of the biggest laughs in the movie while retaining a bit of believability.
Russell steals every scene he's in. He plays a character in which the viewer is supposed to dislike, but it's virtually
impossible. Everything he does, from his words, to his facial expressions, to his ridiculous body language, is hilarious.
The supporting characters are just as good as they have been in every other Apatow movie. Bill Hader, while I liked him
more in Superbad, gets some big laughs as the brother who wants Peter to get over Sarah. Jonah Hill gets some major
comic moments as the hotel employee who has a man crush on the British rocker. Paul Rudd is one of the best comic
minds of our time and he is as funny as ever as Chuck/Kunu the hotel's surf instructor.
Sarah Marshall is ironically the most forgettable character of the film. Kristen Bell’s performance just isn't up to that of the
rest of the cast. While she looks incredible in a bikini she just doesn't seem believable as either the self-absorbed TV star
or repentant ex-girlfriend.
All in all, this comedy is just another example of a good time for adults. It keeps a consistently flowing script, unlike many
recent comedies that seem to lose pace as they close the story. While crude, the jokes are just light enough to appease
most adult audiences and the short 100 minute run time will ensure you won't be glancing at your watch waiting for it to end,
just laughing hysterically.
Although the movie does have a very
predictable storyline and ending, it was still a
very original film. From the early part of the
film, where we get to see full-frontal male
nudity, which was so shocking that it was
amazingly funny, to the last few jokes that
take place during the credits (so don't leave
until the final credit has rolled), this movie
does not let up. It's definitely a solid comedy
from start to finish.
Considering how sexy and beautiful Kristen
Bell and Mila Kunis are it is most unfortunate
that, unless you are looking for some
swinging dick, you will have to walk out at