Forgetting Sarah Marshall
After having his name attached to comedic gems like "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Knocked Up" and "Superbad," it's no surprise that Judd Apatow is what's hot in Hollywood right now. In fact, can you name the last comedy that didn't have the tagline, "From the guy who brought you ‘Knocked Up' and ‘Superbad'" in front of it?

In the past three years, Apatow has been involved in 13 projects as producer, writer or director. The latest film from his Apatow Productions Company is "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," the ultimate in disastrous romantic comedy. Directed by Nicholas Stoller, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" stars Jason Segel (of "How I Met Your Mother" and "Knocked Up" fame), who also wrote the film.

Segel plays Peter Bretter, a struggling musician who has spent the past five years in a relationship with Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), a superstar actress on one of those "Crime Scene" shows. His whole life revolves around Sarah, as Peter serves as composer for her show, delivering dark and ominous tones to the cheesy dialogue his lover delivers.

To the public, Peter might as well be the invisible man. He's the guy left holding the purse in paparazzi photos - the guy in the background during interviews and press junkets who appears to be lost. He's a phantom on the red carpet, an all-out nobody and he's completely convinced that the only thing he's got is Ms. Sarah Marshall.

Unfortunately for Peter, he's about to lose the only thing he's got. Sarah initiates a ‘we need to talk' conversation, which leads to a painful breakup. After a few fits of crying, extreme depression and an unsuccessful bout of womanizing, Peter finally loses it and has an on-the-job nervous breakdown.

Not having Sarah might just ruin Peter's shattered life. He decides to get away from it all, and so he takes a vacation to Hawaii to clear his head and put Sarah Marshall in the past. Everything's going great until his worst nightmare is realized right before his eyes: Sarah is staying at the same resort with her new boyfriend, British rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand).

You've got to feel for the guy, right? It's only been a couple of weeks and Sarah is already shacked up with some famous rock God, mean while Peter is locked in his room, crying his eyes out like a school girl who scraped her knees. It's just not right.

While Peter torments himself with the idea of Sarah sharing her life with someone new, he finds comfort in meeting Rachel (Mila Kunis), a gorgeous resort employee who ignites within Peter a small sense of hope. Maybe life without Sarah Marshall is possible after all.

What sets "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" apart from other romantic comedies is how likeable all of the characters are. Like real life, there are two sides to every story, and we realize early on that Peter and Sarah both have their faults, and we the audience are never left with a clear-cut impression of who is at fault for the deterioration of their relationship. Segel's performance as the everyman is perfect here, and Russell Brand's rock ‘n' roll lothario is full of laughs and brutal, sometimes disgusting honesty. He is a pure straight womanizer and makes no qualms about it. Of course I can't forget to mention Mila Kunis, who is sure to make more appearances in future Apatow films. Her beauty and laid-back attitude give her the perfect balance to Marshall's strict, structured personality.

As with all of Apatow's films, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is filled with brilliant co-stars like Jonah Hill ("Superbad"), Bill Hader ("Superbad"), Paul Rudd ("Knocked Up") and Jack McBrayer ("30 Rock"). All in all, this film is believable, honest and not the cookie-cutter fluff we're used to getting from the romantic comedy genre. It's also funny - really funny.

My only complaint is the pacing. The film seems to drag through its low points, namely the first act. After we are introduced to the characters and the situation at hand, the film doesn't really seem to get moving until Peter lands in Hawaii. It probably could have been 10 or 15 minutes shorter and tightened up some of its pacing issues.

"Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is definitely a must-see work of comedy. While not as uproarious as "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," this film is definitely one of the finer Rated-R comedies in the past years.

Reviewed by: adam
30 Comment(s)
Shea said...
This has been a weird one for me in not watching.

At first I immediately brushed it off for cookie cutter comedy just riding the heels of Knocked Up and Superbad.

As the reviews have been coming out thought my desire as increased to annoying anxiousness to see it.(this also happend to me with Superbad)

I will report back soon with my thoughts.
Listen to Adam, Shea - this one's worth seeing.

Excellent point about the likability of the characters. It looked going in like Brand's rocker would be a one-dimensional cardboard cutout (and annoying), but he was a more-than-welcome surprise, and had some terrific lines.

I enjoyed this quite a bit...
* (asterisk) (http://suchastheyare.blogspot.com) said...
I'm looking forward to "Forgetting Judd Apatow".
Paul said...
I was also not that interested in this movie. I felt like Knocked Up and Superbad were progressively less funny than their hilarious predecessor, the 40 Year Old Virgin. After the first 20 minutes or so, my fears were beginning to be realized...

...and then...enter Aldous Snow. Hah, actually the whole movie became pretty hilarious once they got to Hawaii, but Snow in particular was amazing...I mean why are British people so funny??? i wish I was british :-(

Greatest parts were when Peter and Aldous would go off on Sarah, such as making fun of her movie where a cell phone is killing people "Just take out the battery!", "There you go mate, battle's over!" Aldous was ridiculous, and a great meshing of opposing character between he and Peter, a love/hate relationship, "Damnit you are so cool...it's hard to say that since I hate you and all".

And of course, perhaps the greatest ending for any of Apatow-produced films...Dracula love opera...so simple and yet so ridiculously brilliant.

A fresh comedy, great characters and originality unlike some of their previous outings that were dangerously close to being simple cookie-cutter comedies. I would definitely rank it above the mediocre Apatow films of 2007. Highly recommend this, it's a classic.
Shea said...
Classic?...CLASSIC! Like Dumb and Dumber and Monty Python? In the ranks of all the great comedies? OK...I will see this. TONIGHT!
Paul said...
Classic in a 40 Year Old Virgin kind of way
Andy said...
I havent seen 40 year old virgin either. The trailer looks good but I was afraid that was all of the funny scenes.
Paul said...
I didn't even laugh that much at the trailer, aside from him falling off the cliff...that's what worried me and why I was so pleasantly surprised.
So.... said...
If I like Knocked Up and Superbad better than 40 yr old virgin....does that mean I will not like Sarah Marshal as much...ha
Adam said...
I rank Apatow films as such:

Anchorman (produced by Apatow)
40-Year-Old Virgin (Written/Directed by Apatow)
Superbad (Produced by Apatow)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Produced by Apatow)
Knocked Up (Written/Directed by Apatow)

I'm also looking forward to "Pineapple Express" which Apatow wrote, looks to be a new standard in the stoner movie genre, ha.
Adam said...
How is the script horrible? I mean honestly - I don't get what was so bad about it. It felt just the same to me as "knocked up" or "superbad" even.

Movies can be entertaining and well done, but honestly... you were trying to defend The Ruins and it wasn't well-done OR entertaining haha.

Not so well done, okay - whatever - I'll give you that with this one, but I laughed just as much as I did in any of the other Apatows
Adam said...
I guess it's just a tolerance level deal. You can withstand bad horror films as I can withstand subpar comedies?
Andy said...
Adam... I dont know where your comments are, but I ain't seeing them. The script was weak to me, but I usually don't like comedies. The last one I really enjoyed was Death at a Funeral. I laughed a fair amount in Forgetting, but I don't think I enjoyed it as much as you guys. And from reading all of the reviews (this one included), I was just expecting more than... Oops I ended up at the same Hawaiin resort as my newly ex girlfriend and her new lover. Wasn't terrible....just average. I am able to enjoy movies that aren't "fine cinema" if they offer something new and I don't think "ok I get it" all through the second half.
* (asterisk) said...
"Listen to Adam, Shea." But last time I checked, Adam introduced Shea to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Puh-leeze!

"why are British people so funny??? i wish I was british :-(" You know, Paul, being British has its downsides, too. But I am damn funny, so I guess it all evens out.

Given that Knocked Up was the least funny comedy I have ever seen in my entire life (wow, written AND directed by the Mighty Judd...), I'm giving this one a huuuuuge berth. Tell us what you thought, Shea.
Shea said...
Well guys.... I just saw this last night and I promise you I am not saying what I am about to say because I want to be on the dark side.

I thought it was as the french would say...LE LAME!

Classic? 4 stars? ...eeeeesh. I dont get it. The story was horrible and random. I was HOPING that he would admit that he followed his dame to Hawaii so at least half of it would make sense.

Obviously there are some laughs but seriously... nothing amazing or even nod worthy.

There are three good things about this movie...

1) I loved the Dracula song in pub.

2) I loved Mila Kunis... She was SOOOooo annoying in 70's show but thought she was great in this one...

3) Loved the psych song and the montage that follows.

But come on guys...was this really a step ahead of all the other comedies out there. It reminded me of Ben Stiller's The Heartbreak Kid... same tropical misfortunes.

British guys has his moments but they are only moments.

Worst Paul Rudd performance ever. I even liked him better in Reno 911.

Jonah Hill... whatever. British accent was the only chuckle he got from me.

Jason Segal was average. I hated his crying drunken stoopers, his stupid decisions, and swinging dong.

... DUDES!!! In the cell phone movies they do always take the battery out! BUT IT STILL RINGS!!!! Ahhhhh

MAYBE a notch above the average comedy but definitely one of the weekest Apatow films... in my opinion of course.

Knocked Up and Superbad are head over heels better... and I'm not even counting 40 yr old.

2.5 stars... nothing but average.
Adam said...
Yes Andy, see Superbad and 40-year-old virgin with me.

I'll say this. Me and Paul get cut down every now and then for not being able to appreciate 'fine cinema' or something to that sort, but I think honestly that Shea (and perhaps Andy, though I'm not completely sure yet) have the unfortunate disability of not being able to enjoy being entertained.

I mean, not every movie is a piece of art. Apatow makes audience films - hell Spielberg and Lucas make audience films. I think sometimes you get too worked up in the judgment of it to just sit back and let yourself enjoy something haha.

That's why we all click and weave together, because each of us possesses a different vision of a movie, we all see it a different way. I'm there with the appreciation of fine cinema on films like Jesse James, El Orfanato, There Will Be Blood etc - but I can also stand up for the audience films that make it their art to completely and fully entertain someone... like "Transformers" of course.

I was thinking about this the other day - I remembered how i used to watch movies before I critically analyzed them, and I realized that the fllms that stuck with me were the ones that were well-done AND awesomely entertaining... like "Aliens."

I think "Sarah Marshall" succeeded at what it wanted to do, and that was to just make you laugh and enjoy yourself.

the Dracula musical though... fantastic! I can't wait to see these guys do the new Muppets movie!
Paul said...
Actually I figured that would be your response. Shea, you know you have to see a comedy with me and Adam to appreciate it...it's all about the small things.

Jonah Hill only great moment was his British accent? How about the subtle comedy of his face stamped all around his demo disk...ridiculous! Seriously man, me you and Adam need to watch Superbad, Knocked Up and Sarah Marshall in sequence, then we will see....Andy can come too

And I'm sorry...did you just defend cell phone movies???
Paul said...
* (asterisk)...you lucky SOB
Andy said...
I have to agree with Shea...average. Although I did enjoy it more than Knocked Up as a comedy. (Knocked Up had a way better story, but I didn't think it was funny) As for this one....I got tired of the repetative "humorous situations"... seeing every character in every possible sexual position...Peter running into Sarah everywhere he went...Peter's peter...paul rudd. The story sucked. I hate it when comedies have ridiculous obvious storylines just to get to the next punch line. Yeah...yeah I know that's what comedies are, but at least put a little thought into it. I did love Mila. She was beautiful, and I would have chosen her over Sarah any day. Maybe I need to see 40 Year Old Virgin and Superbad before completely writing off Apatow as overrated, but so far I'm not impressed.
Shea said...
Yeah Paul...

I am a firm advocate that the veiwing experience is an important part of enjoying a movie.

I still think that this would fall low on the list even if I you me and adam had a few laughs.

Just wasnt a lot of substance like KNocked, Superbad, and Virgin. I felt those had a deeper push while this was in it for the penis giggles.

And yes faces on the mix tape was part of Hills British scene.
Paul said...
I hear ya man. I saw Superbad with Adam, and even then it was very ho-hum to me. Some funny lines, but fairly predictable for the most part...I don't know.
Adam said...
Yes Andy, see Superbad and 40-year-old virgin with me.

I'll say this. Me and Paul get cut down every now and then for not being able to appreciate 'fine cinema' or something to that sort, but I think honestly that Shea (and perhaps Andy, though I'm not completely sure yet) have the unfortunate disability of not being able to enjoy being entertained.

I mean, not every movie is a piece of art. Apatow makes audience films - hell Spielberg and Lucas make audience films. I think sometimes you get too worked up in the judgment of it to just sit back and let yourself enjoy something haha.

That's why we all click and weave together, because each of us possesses a different vision of a movie, we all see it a different way. I'm there with the appreciation of fine cinema on films like Jesse James, El Orfanato, There Will Be Blood etc - but I can also stand up for the audience films that make it their art to completely and fully entertain someone... like "Transformers" of course.

I was thinking about this the other day - I remembered how i used to watch movies before I critically analyzed them, and I realized that the fllms that stuck with me were the ones that were well-done AND awesomely entertaining... like "Aliens."

I think "Sarah Marshall" succeeded at what it wanted to do, and that was to just make you laugh and enjoy yourself.

the Dracula musical though... fantastic! I can't wait to see these guys do the new Muppets movie!
Shea said...
ADAM...

I just dont understand why you can't be entertaining and still hold the integrity of a good script or simply well done movie. Do you really have to compromise excellence for entertainment?

I thought Knocked Up an Superbad were both well done and funny = good movie.

Forgetting's script was horrible and random = good movie because you laughed at his penis or that horrible cliff jumping scene? Not in my opinion.

P.S. It is weird I am noticing that most people who didnt like KNocked Up like this one and vice versa. INteresting.
Paul said...
Cliff jumping and penis abundance were not even that funny...

The script is the jokes, give em to me any way you can.
* (asterisk) said...
Thing is, I'm a "fooled me once" kind of guy. For me, Knocked Up was so incredibly awful -- I mean, there were absolutely no redeeming features -- that I don't believe there is anything Apatow can do that will impress me. I will never waste time on him again.

I'm all about being entertained. Love being entertained. I thought Borat was hysterical. It's no Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, or even Groundhog Day, but it was damn funny.

I've enjoyed my Terminators, Predators, Aliens, et al. But Shea is spot-on: there is no need to compromise quality or integrity for entertainment. It is possible to do both. Indeed, it is preferable. Sure, something can be funny but badly realized, but then we at least have the script, which is the nucleus of the piece. Without the good writing, we got nada, baby. Or as I like to call it, "Apatow".
Paul said...
Sorry...looking back and seeing this quote from you Shea, I had to comment:

"Do you really have to compromise excellence for entertainment?"

...it's a comedy! Why do I go see a comedy, because I want to see an example of filmmaking excellence? Wadlow gave us the great example of Napolean Dynamite, awfully directed, but an amazing movie because of the performances.

When I saw how they didn't make it halfway plausible that Peter and Sarah randomly showed up in the same hotel in Hawaii, I recognized it, and then let it go. Honestly, who cares that it didn't make sense?! Did Monty Pyton and the Holy Grail make sense? Lord no, but it was hilarious! You may argue, well it wasn't supposed to make sense. Well, do you think the directors of Sarah Marshall really needed to add some filler in there to "explain" why this is happening?

I'm just saying, you can't go see a comedy wearing the goggles of "filmmaking excellence", if you do you're missing it...and I honestly I feel a little sorry that you don't appreciate it.

"Do you really have to compromise excellence for entertainment?"

...most movies are made for entertainment, are they not?
Shea said...
this still doesnt back your argument... it only excuses the movie for it's flaws.

Monty Python worked. It hada simple goal and a simple story...all else was comedy. Monty Python had class and the smarts. Monty Python new exactly what it was doing... and I disagree, it made sense.

In "Forgetting" the filmakers were forcing their little comedic world down our throats. Oh...here...laugh at my penis(cop out comedy)...oh...i am heart broken let me bang the classic quirky chics from Duece Bigalow...OH I NEED A VACATION...HAWAII...oh...look there she is... there is her lover...i am jealous...add the stoners and quirky hotel people...oh I WANT HER BACK... OH WAIT... I LIKE THIS CHIC...OH WAIT...NOW let me try to bang my old girlfirend and oops...good thing I couldn't get an erection.

Whatever...I am glad you guys had your giggles and consider it a classic. It's no secret I dont like the flavor of comedy too much so I am not the best to review such.

Just saying. Shallow simple humor that copies the tactics of movie after movie before it... and THAT is why I dont dig it!
Paul said...
That's the thing, all you seem to notice are the shallow parts, that honestly I agree, aren't that funny.
Shea said...
Right... but see... I loved The Ruins for like 5 or 6 awesome parts. The rest of the movie was shallow and cliche. But those 5 or 6 parts were great. I still reviewed the movie with a 2.5 stars. Why? Because other than those small parts it was floating in the shallows. Thats cool...

I laughed at parts I really did. But nothing in this movie stands out to me as great, original, or anything but a buffet of the average.
* (asterisk) said...
Napoleon Dynamite was another overrated bit of turd.