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Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

DVD Cover (Universal)
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7.2
 / 10
19 votes
Genres:
Comedy, Romantic Comedy
Director:
Nicholas Stoller Nicholas Stoller
Starring:
Jason Segel Jason Segel
Kristen Bell Kristen Bell
Mila Kunis Mila Kunis
Russell Brand Russell Brand
Bill Hader Bill Hader
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Review by Tristan
Added: April 20, 2008
Instead of going on another Apatow rant, I decided to skip it this time around. Jason Segel however, deserves a little recognition. Starting off with small roles in popular teen comedies Can't Hardly Wait and Dead Man on Campus, he gained some popularity by playing Nick Andopolis, Linda Cardellini's drummer boyfriend in the hit series Freaks and Geeks. He later did a few episodes of Apatow's other big hit, Undeclared before he more-or-less disappeared for about 5 years. He resurfaced again with a supporting role in last year's Knocked Up, and now after 10 years in the business, he's getting his chance to headline - and write, I might add - his own movie.

In tonight's film, Jason Segel stars as Peter Bretter, a struggling musician living with Hollywood superstar Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). In between scoring her hit TV series "Crime Scene", and lounging around on the couch, Peter is working on a Muppet-style Dracula rock opera. Things seem to be going along smoothly in their 5 year relationship, when out of the blue Sarah dumps him, and takes off with the overly-cocky and overly-sexual British musician Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). To get away from all his memories, Peter impulsively travels to Hawaii at an attempt to clear his mind. As fate would have it, the only resort on the island with a vacancy turns out to be the same one his now ex-girlfriend and her new rocker boyfriend are vacationing in. Just when it seems things couldn't get any worse for our leading man, he finds himself attracted to the beautiful resort employee Rachel (Mila Kunis), who might be just who he needs to help him get his head on straight, and get back on track with his life.

I was surprised at first that this film received an R rating. It's pretty uncommon for a comedy to go over that PG-13 line for fear of losing a large portion of its audience. After only 10 minutes of the movie, I was subject to plenty of profanity, and to my surprise, male full frontal nudity. I tip my hat to Mr. Segel for having the *cough* balls to bare all in his first major movie role. It was quite the change from every other comedy with 40 different drunk girls flaunting their stuff like there's no tomorrow. As far as romantic comedies go, I'd have to say this was right up there with Knocked Up in terms of being crude, and for lack of a better word - raunchy. R rating well earned.

Just like Seth Rogen, I've been a big fan of Jason Segel since I saw him in Freaks and Geeks. He always stood out as one of those people you knew was funny outside of the lines. This is made pretty apparent in this movie, not only because he wrote the script, but because a lot of it is improvised. Anyone can memorize lines and give a funny delivery. Okay, almost anyone. But the people I think are truly funny are the ones who can run with a scene, delivering line after line, and the best ones work their way into the film. After seeing Segel's work in Knocked Up, it was fairly obvious he possessed this talent, and it seemed only fair for him to get a chance at creating his own screenplay. From what I understand, many of the events in the movie were taken from real-life experiences Segel had in the past, and wrote into the script. I was very surprised with Mila Kunis in this one. Like most people, I'd only watched her in the occasional episode of That 70's Show, and I could not stand her. I can appreciate how well she handled the role of the "bimbo", but she really just annoyed me. As skeptical as I was, she shed this shallow and obnoxious typecast for this role, and pulled it off beautifully. She was cute, sweet, and pretty much everything you wanted Jason's character to end up with. While I think that Russell Brand was a fantastic choice for the cocky, ridiculous British singer Aldous Snow, I feel that Kristen Bell could have been changed out for any number of young actresses. She's cute, and definitely fills the role, but I just think she didn't do much for the film. It was also great to see Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill and Bill Hader show up in brief albeit hilarious cameos.

I really don't want to compare this to Knocked Up for a number of reasons. The first being that while this had a lot of familiar faces from the Apatow crew, it was apparent he had less of an influence on it. Also, while it was along the same lines of Knocked Up, it didn't have the same "it's time to grow up" vibe to it, as most Apatow films have. It certainly dealt with adult issues, but it did it with a more naive and childish approach. Don't take this the wrong way however, as it worked for the movie perfectly, and it was a great start to what I can only hope is a long - and well deserved - career for Jason Segel. While Pineapple Express looks to be the comedy of the year for me, I think that this one has a very good chance of sneaking into first place.

10/10.
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 21, 2008
There has been a lot of talk about how funny "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is. Critic Richard Roeper has been touting it as one of the funniest films ever made. Its current Rotten Tomatoes score is a lot better than most independent dramas; and, for a comedy, that's pretty impressive. So, I went into the film expecting to laugh - expecting to laugh a lot. And I did. But to call "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" one of the funniest films ever made is a bit of an overstatement. I don't know if I would call it the funniest film of 2008. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is another one of those Judd Apatow inspired pictures that features the same actors, the same kinds of dick and fart jokes and the same amount of heart and humanity that is supposed to even things out in the end. But, at some point, you have to start questioning some of the tactics of these kinds of films. What worked for pictures like the inspired "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up" don't necessarily work for all of the other pictures in the catalog. With "The 40-Year-Old Virgin", Apatow tackles the losing of ones virginity. With "Knocked Up", Apatow tackles parenthood. With "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", Apatow's team is tackling break-ups. It's like they are covering every major issue a twenty-something male faces in his life. There's nothing wrong with that. I just want to start seeing better rewards.

In his first leading role, Jason Segel (who also wrote the screenplay) stars as Peter Bretter, a young musician who happens to be dating Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), the star of the hit drama "Crime Scene", for which Peter composes the music. The film opens with Sarah breaking up with Peter, sending him into an immediate downward spiral. He doesn't know what to do without her and spends most of his days crying like a baby and working on his rock opera version of "Dracula". His best friend, Brian (Bill Hader) convinces Peter to take a vacation, and he does - to Hawaii. The problem is that Sarah and her new hard rocking boyfriend, Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) have also come to the same resort to vacation. Cue to the crying again. But, soon, Peter meets and falls for the hotel customer service agent, Rachel (Mila Kunis), and Sarah slowly starts fading into the background. The resort is also home to a wide assortment of Apatow regulars, including Jonah Hill as a pseudo-homosexual restaurant manager who has an unhealthy obsession with Sarah's new rocker boyfriend, and Paul Rudd as the local surf guru with short term memory problems. It would not be an Apatow production without these random cameos, and we've come to expect them.

First off - haven't we seen all of this before? I know I certainly have. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is a culmination of plot devices from numerous other romantic comedies, except it has the whole Apatow branding going for it. There nothing very original about the film, from the same dialog that we hear in every film like this, to the predictability of the character choices that make us constantly question just how stupid human beings really are in the film world. What is the point of having the lead character completely naked at the beginning? What purpose does it serve other than to say to the audience - "Hey, look what I did!" I also had a problem with the lack of connectivity between some of the scenes at the resort. It felt like the filmmaker had shot these random collection of scenes and just lined them up, one after another, for a little while, paying little attention to whether or not they fit into any grande scheme of storytelling. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is almost too haphazard in the way that it takes these characters that we have grown to like and places them in these ridiculous situations with these supporting characters that seem so trivial and contrived. And what is Jason Segel but a 2008 version of Seth Rogen? He has a little more dramatic flair, but they are basically the same character, with just a few minor differences.

All of that said, everyone seems to be having a blast in the film. Jason Segel is quite charming as Peter and does a good job with his first leading role. He probably has a nice future ahead of himself after this picture. Kristen Bell is quite lovely in her role as Sarah Marshall, especially during her hilarious clips from her TV show with William Baldwin - those were the most memorable aspects of the film for me. Russell Brand steals the show during most of his scenes as the obnoxious Aldous Snow, but that character is so over the top that it seems a little out of place in this picture. Paul Rudd gets just downright annoying in his role, as does Jonah Hill. The best performance all around comes from Mila Kunis as the customer service agent who falls for Peter. She is a real find here, and I am glad that she is finally getting the cinematic recognition she deserves.

But, will "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" make you laugh? You bet your ass it will. I laughed quite a bit. I loved the stuff with the "Dracula" musical and I thought the ending of the film was just hysterical. I loved the "Crime Scene" segments with William Baldwin, and then the special one at the end with Jason Bateman. On the whole, this was an affective comedy. However, calling it one of the funniest films ever made is just laughable in itself. As mentioned before, I personally didn't even think it was one of the funniest films of 2008. I laughed more at "Smart People". But, you will go see the film and probably love it, and Apatow fans have a new idol in Jason Segel, so I guess Seth Rogen is out of work for a while. But, I do want to stress that this kind of humor is going to very quickly get old to a lot of people. Right now, it's the hot thing to do, but it's going to wear out its welcome very soon and these kinds of dick and fart jokes will just not be funny anymore. I am glad I saw "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". But, an hour or so later, I'd already forgotten it.

6/10.
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grain of sand #1: grain of sand - added 04/24/2008, 06:36 PM
I try not to spend money on these types of movies, but ended up going to this with the lady friend. Got some laughs out of it, but nothing too great.
Can't wait for Pineapple Express though..
4/10
Vash #2: Vash - added 04/28/2008, 02:27 AM
here's why you're an idiot.
#1, the movie has all of zero dick and/or fart jokes, other than the obvious shots of segel's dick. no mention is made of dicks or farts, so, bye.
#2, how is peter like seth rogen's character, exactly? he's not a slacker or a stoner or a fucking idiot. he's an obsessive ex boyfriend. pretty sure none of rogen's characters fit that description.
#3, which character of seth rogen's are you even referring to? you've praised him in other reviews, yet you're generally referring to all his characters as the same? good one.
#4, it's april, dickhead. 2008 isn't over yet.
#5, way to give away the bateman cameo.
#6, how does brand's character seem over the top in a movie that features a puppet musical based on dracula?
#7, apatow fans have a "new" idol in jason segel? right, because i'm sure FANS of judd apatow's have no idea who he is.
#8, and this one isn't directly related to this review, but do you even like movies, or do you just enjoy fellating yourself with largely unfounded reviews? go watch some fellini and go fuck yourself.
kthxbi.
bluemeanie #3: bluemeanie - added 04/28/2008, 11:39 AM
here's why you're an idiot.
#1, the movie has all of zero dick and/or fart jokes, other than the obvious shots of segel's dick. no mention is made of dicks or farts, so, bye.

“Dick and fart” joke is not literal, you moron. Of course, debating film terminology with you is probably like debating the existence of global warming with the President of Exxon. The dick shot is exactly what I was referring to, as well as the numerous sexual jokes throughout the picture, and those are rampant.

#2, how is peter like seth rogen's character, exactly? he's not a slacker or a stoner or a fucking idiot. he's an obsessive ex boyfriend. pretty sure none of rogen's characters fit that description.

He is like Seth Rogen’s character in that they are both two men unhappy with their lives, trying to find some shred of happiness. I believe I said they were the same TYPES of characters.

#3, which character of seth rogen's are you even referring to? you've praised him in other reviews, yet you're generally referring to all his characters as the same? good one.

Just because I enjoy the actor, doesn’t mean he has a lot of range as an actor. Are you really this ignorant, or is it a ploy to win me over?

#4, it's april, dickhead. 2008 isn't over yet.

Good one. You really got me there. I should switch from the Mayan calendar.

#5, way to give away the bateman cameo.

Yeah, I just spoiled the movie for everyone. Damn me.

#6, how does brand's character seem over the top in a movie that features a puppet musical based on dracula?

Because everyone else is acting in a more realistic way and he is not. I am now starting to put the pieces together – you know nothing about what you speak. Someone got their panties in a wad when someone disagreed with a film they liked. That’s new.

#7, apatow fans have a "new" idol in jason segel? right, because i'm sure FANS of judd apatow's have no idea who he is.

After “Knocked Up”, the talk was all about “ooooh...Seth Rogen....oooooh...Seth
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 04/28/2008, 11:39 AM
#7, apatow fans have a "new" idol in jason segel? right, because i'm sure FANS of judd apatow's have no idea who he is.

After “Knocked Up”, the talk was all about “ooooh...Seth Rogen....oooooh...Seth Rogen”. Now, that has switched to “oooooooh...Jason Segel...ooooooh...Jason Segel”. I think that was what I was referring to, which most people probably understood...emphasis on ‘most’.

#8, and this one isn't directly related to this review, but do you even like movies, or do you just enjoy fellating yourself with largely unfounded reviews? go watch some fellini and go fuck yourself.

Getting so personal over such a mediocre film. And, technically, I don’t need to watch some Fellini, since I’ve seen pretty much all of his films. But, I’ve also seen everything that Judd Apatow has ever written, produced or directed. So, what is your point? I didn’t like the movie. Get over it, you fucking titty baby and stop wasting comment space with your ridiculous bile.
Nirrad #5: Nirrad - added 04/28/2008, 12:58 PM
Vash your Rebuttal to this? Keep this shit going, it's entertaining me.
Vash #6: Vash - added 04/28/2008, 01:42 PM
haha, actually it seems like you're the one who's taking this to heart. i wasn't aware "dick and fart" was an industry term. sorry, roger ebert, i'll try to bone up on my film jargon next time i call you out on a retarded comment. i'm not gonna go over your bullshit because i don't care enough at this point, and i have actual reviews to write, but none of your rebuttals are warranted considering you're obviously just making excuses for the points i made. good job backtracking on things you clearly did not imply with your review. you're part of the reason people hate film geeks - you're a pretentious fop who thinks he knows everything there is to know about movies. get your head out of your ass and maybe replace it with something sharp. again, and hopefully for the last time, go fuck yourself. bye!
bluemeanie #7: bluemeanie - added 04/28/2008, 02:00 PM
Yes...you go write your 'real' reviews. I am sure the local trade show is honored to have you.
bluemeanie #8: bluemeanie - added 04/28/2008, 02:02 PM
Oh -- and I found something sharp for insertion. It must be your impeccable wit.
Nirrad #9: Nirrad - added 10/04/2008, 10:18 AM
One of the best, if not the best comedy of the year. I loved every minute of it. 10/10
George Snow #10: George Snow - added 10/13/2008, 01:23 AM
Funny ass movie.
Strait Killa #11: Strait Killa - added 11/11/2008, 03:03 PM
Found this movie pretty boring, except for any time Russel Brand was on screen. He was the saving point of the movie, and the only reason to watch this
Griffinheart #12: Griffinheart - added 11/11/2008, 10:54 PM
Please tell me this movie got better as it went on. I watched about thirty minutes of it and was bored to tears. I'll watch crap, but what I saw (admittedly a small piece at the beginning) was shit.
bluemeanie #13: bluemeanie - added 11/12/2008, 10:31 AM
Finally -- others who found this film as lacking as I did.
Optimus Prime #14: Optimus Prime - added 03/25/2009, 01:50 PM
Just caught this for the first time last night. Wasn't expecting much being I'm not a huge Apatow fan. Impressed the hell out of me though. 9/10. Probably my favorite of all his movies.
Gungnir #15: Gungnir - added 05/28/2009, 11:21 PM
overrated. oh, and vash, stick to reviewing music. you're opinions on this movie are teh suck
Lucid Dreams #16: Lucid Dreams - added 02/26/2010, 09:03 PM
I thought this movie was pretty damn funny. I also want Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis to double team me and let me be their sex slaves. 10/10
AttnDefDis #17: AttnDefDis - added 09/20/2010, 07:09 PM
I love how both of the girls are gorgeous and none of the men are attractive in the least. I mean, I knew I wouldn't find this movie very funny, but there wasn't even any hot guys to hold my attention. Paul Rudd's brief appearances were decent though. Some decent performances, but not too funny.
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