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Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Directed by:

Nicholas Stoller

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 111 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

I’m a big fan of those Knocked Up guys—the Stoller/Apatow/Rogen/Segel … whoever … group that just keeps on making movies together. This time, Nicholas Stoller’s directing and Jason Segel wrote and stars in what I think is supposed to be a comedy along the same lines—you know, clever banter, “normal guy” characters who we can relate to, and some very R-rated humor that goes over just fine despite its raunchiness because, somehow, they make it work. Forgetting Sarah Marshall tries, but even with a talented cast, nothing ever seems to gel.

Peter Bretter (Segel) is dating Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), star of the popular TV crime drama “Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime.” Peter, the show’s musical composer, believes all is well in their five-year relationship until one day Sarah comes home and tells him she’s leaving him for another man. Devastated, Peter wallows around in self-pity for awhile before deciding to take a much-needed vacation to Hawaii—only to find Sarah’s there too with her new rock star boyfriend (Russell Brand). He can’t run, he can’t hide—but he can strike up a friendship with Rachel (Mila Kunis), the hotel desk clerk, that might eventually lead to more if he can escape the memories of Sarah Marshall.

I think I’m mad at this movie because it could’ve been better. I know it’s potential, because I’ve seen what the people involved have done in the past. The cast here is fantastic, especially Brand, who seems to make everything he’s in go up a notch, and Kunis, who’s definitely more than just Jackie from “That 70s Show.” So much more, in fact, that I was rooting for her NOT to get with Peter, because nice as he is, in story land, he wasn’t ready for a girl that cool after just getting out of a five-year relationship. That inner conflict of mine sums up my issues with the film—it seems confused. It really wants to be a comedy, but it also sort of wants to be dramatic, and those two elements never flow into each other. Much of the movie feels like a series of skits—the bits with the newlyweds at the hotel just don’t have any purpose except to be funny, and they’re not, and most of the flashbacks are choppy and jarring. You see what they were doing, and it could’ve worked, but the whole thing was poorly executed. It’s not a bad film, but it takes a while to even care about anyone, and it’s asking a lot from your audience to devote that much time to something when even the payoff isn’t much.

It's Got: , really funny mocking of CSI shows and bad horror movie ideas

It Needs: To have picked a personality and stuck with it and to lose the “subplot”

DVD Extras Audio commentary (filmmakers and actors); Theatrical and extended version; Digital copy; Video diaries; Cast interviews; Footage from the Dracula Puppet Musical; “Line-O-Rama” (alternate lines); “Sex-O-Rama” (more of the sex montage) DVD Extras Rating: 8/10

Alternatives:

Knocked Up, Superbad, The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Summary

Funny in parts, uncomfortable in others, this tale of man-dumped-by-TV-star girlfriend-goes-to-Hawaii could’ve been so much better.

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