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Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Released: 2008

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 1 hr 52 min

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Starring: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd, Jack McBrayer, Jonah Hill

A heartbroken young man takes a trip to Hawaii, where he meets a stunning desk clerk.

A truly sidesplittingly and wickedly funny romantic comedy.

Review by: JerrySaravia

Added: 8 years ago

The other day I saw 1934's "It Happened One Night" and was reminded what a great screwball comedy it was and how its situations revolved around its main characters whom I cared about. It was also a great romantic comedy, sharper and edgier than most others of its ilk. I can say the same for "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," a truly sidesplittingly and wickedly funny romantic comedy. Yes, it is nothing new in terms of its genre but it is too saucy, sincere and plainly hilarious to pass up.

Jason Segel (who wrote the screenplay) is Peter Bretter, a music composer who currently writes and performs the creepy music themes for a "CSI"-type TV show (William Baldwin appears in it, no doubt mimicking some of David Caruso's gestures). Peter is also romantically involved with the show's leading actress, Sarah Marshall (a winning performance by Kristin Bell). Unfortunately, she has called it quits on their relationship - all this after arriving at his apartment and finding him bare naked. Peter is distraught and understandably depressed, unaware of what caused this break-up. He goes on a vacation to Hawaii, which was suggested by Sarah at one time, and finds Sarah there with a new beau (Russell Brand). Things can only get worse until Peter gets friendly with the female hotel desk clerk, Rachel (Mila Kunis), and, well, shall I spell out the rest for you?

Most romantic comedies of the past decade seem so cardboard and uni- dimensional that you are better off looking at peeling paint or eroding Chinese drywall. Of the 2000 decade, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is one of the finest, richest and most emotional of all romantic comedies that I've seen. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and 2007's "Knocked Up" are two more to add to the list. Part of the charm of "Sarah Marshall" is that as anticipated as every scene is, the movie flirts with you and gives you goosebumps of joy at delivering such an entertaining, lovable cast of colorful characters.

There is the aforementioned Jason Segel who gives his schlub of a character a whiff of humanity, humor and heart in such equal doses that it is impossible to find him less than irresistible. Whether he tries singing the lyrics to his "Dracula" opera, or is wooing the quixotic Rachel or crying uncontrollably, Segel always manages to make you care about his plight and his character never comes across as desperate or foolish - you just understand where he is coming from. He wants to be loved and in this current Judd Apatow mood of sensitive males that is pervasive in cinemas since "40 Year-Old Virgin," it works.

And what should be far more commonplace outside of Judd Apatow and Jason Segel country are the juicy and fully-dimensional women characters. I truly admire Mila Kunis (formerly of TV's "That 70's Show") for creating one of the loveliest screen presences in any romantic comedy in a long time. Kunis shows Rachel's heart, sensitivity and her pain, especially in one scene where she berates a former boyfriend on the beach. She is funny, sweet, charming and has a bit of an edge - she is the girlfriend who remains true to herself but doesn't appreciate backstabbing or disloyalty.

And Kristin Bell ("Veronica Mars") knocked my socks off, showing far more flair and comic timing than in anything else she has appeared in. Her Sarah Marshall character could've easily been an unlikable sourpuss that the audience would hate for all the obvious reasons. However, when she decides to warm up to Peter after having dumped him, one senses that she is forthright and just needs someone to love her. How refreshing to see the woman who seemingly is all wrong for the male lovebird.

Also worth mentioning is the hysterically funny Russell Brand, a stand-up British comedian with a Rastafarian hairstyle who is as charming as any bloke we normally see in these movies. In this case, he is a bed-hopping, lustful rock star named Aldous Snow, who not only craves sex but demonstrates how it should be done. His best scenes are the classic dueling sex scene (check out his humiliated reaction) and the dinner scene where he gives a negative review to a crappy horror movie Sarah had made about a killer telephone!

Jason Segel and debuting director Nicholas Stoller have crafted a humanistic, emotionally centered romantic comedy with an equal share of belly laughs. Peter, Sarah Marshall, Rachel and Aldous Snow come across as vulnerable types - they want love and to be loved in their own terms. The fact that Peter knew all along the complications of a relationship make his character that much more sympathetic. In an age of anonymous Hollywood movies about bland love, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is one of the few marvelous American comedies in quite some time. You won't soon forget it.