Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writer: Jason Segel
Release Date: April 18, 2008 (USA)
I didnít expect to visit the theater for Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but after reading positive feedback from AP.net members, I decided to give this latest Judd Apatow-produced comedy a shot. Jason Segel stars as Peter Bretter, a TV show music composer who's dating the latest It-girl in Hollywood, Sarah Marshall. Sarah is fittingly played by a real-life actress on the rise, Kristen Bell. The premise finds Peter taking a trip to Hawaii after he is nakedly dumped by Sarah, only to find heís staying at the same hotel as his ex-girlfriend and her new British rock star boyfriend Aldous Snow (Russell Brand).
After watching his performance as the smooth talking roommate in Knocked Up, Iíve been looking forward to seeing Segel in the spotlight. He creates a likable and pitiable character as Peter, a good person we care about. Bell fits the role of Sarah (and looks great onscreen), and the two lead characters are fleshed out enough to make their relationship and subsequent break-up believable. Quick flashback sequences experienced by Peter and Sarah show the audience what each remember of their relationship and provide instant backfill. Mila Kunis is soon introduction as the free spirited hotel receptionist Rachel Jansen, and she gives Peter a contrast to Sarah and new opportunity. The storyline moves forward, and unlike some comedies, I was actually interested in finding out where the characters would end up and how the story would come to a close. I just wish there were more laughs overall.
Itís not that Forgetting Sarah Marshall doesnít have its moments. There are some funny lines usually delivered by secondary characters, and the movie earns its R-rating with a few humorous instances of full frontal male nudity. Brand in particular shines as the eccentric and rebellious musician, coming through with both spoken and physical comedy; it would be great to see him visit future Apatow movies (of course there are more coming). But what hurts this movie the most is the sometimes lukewarm comedy. The 40 Year Old Virgin and Superbad receive continuous plays in my apartment because of the quality and quantity of laugh out loud moments, which Forgetting Sarah Marshall lacks. But if given the choice, Iíd prefer an enjoyable plot with a few missed jokes as opposed to a forgetful plot that brings the funny.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall is another winner in the Apatowís budding library of comedies, though as stated before, it may not have the replay value of the movies heís written and directed himself. Iím sure Iím not the only one whoís looking forward to whatís next from both Apatow and Segel.