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Overall Rating

Awesome: 33.33%
Worth A Look43.86%
Just Average: 5.26%
Pretty Crappy: 1.75%
Sucks: 15.79%

5 reviews, 27 user ratings

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall
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by Jay Seaver

"Another winner from the Apatow gang."
4 stars

For all of the crazy bits that can be found within this film itself, perhaps the strangest thing about "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is that the film got its creative team the chance to make the next Muppet movie. It makes sense, in a way - "Sarah Marshall" has that sort of anything-goes sense of humor and even uses puppets at one point - but it's also gleefully raunchy, enough so that giving its makers a beloved G-rated franchise is not the obvious course of action.

It's crude almost from the very beginning, when TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) returns home early to break up with her boyfriend Peter Bretter (Jason Segel), but finds herself rather distracted by his nakedness. She does manage to get the job done, though, leaving him a quivering mass of jelly who finally bends to his brother's advice to get away for a few days. That's a good idea, but he makes it a bad idea by choosing a Hawaiian resort that Sarah had told him about, and he gets there at the same time as Sarah and her new boyfriend, rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). The woman manning the front desk (Mila Kunis) takes pity on him, though, and soon he and this Rachel Jansen are hanging out during her off hours, which makes things awkward for everybody.

Star Jason Segel wrote the screenplay, and it turns out that he's pretty good at it: He's got a knack for good pop culture jokes that are more than just name-dropping, for instance, and the dumb or strange things his characters do are dumb or strange in a way that seems to be in character. The movie isn't bogged down with characters who advance the plot but are not actually funny, and all the main characters get a chance to be both sympathetic and unreasonable at various points.

As an actor, Segel avoids being the boring center that all the insanity happens around mostly by being kind of over-the-top mopey, but every once in a while he breaks out something that makes us realize that Peter is more than a little weird; he's got quite a knack for finding the border between eccentric and uncomfortable and hovering there. Mila Kunis is the closest thing the movie's got to a straight man, but she's good at adding a bit of snap to her set-ups and reactions and being generally charming enough to distract Peter from Sarah. That's pretty remarkable, because Kristen Bell does not play Sarah as the villain of the piece; she makes Sarah likable enough that we never wonder what Peter was doing with her in the first place. There's material for a cute love triangle here.

And then there's Russell Brand, who plays Aldous as broadly as he can and collects big laughs whenever he's on-screen. Yes, he's every spoiled rock-star cliché rolled into one, but he's too hilariously relaxed about it to be the bad guy. He's joined by a bunch of supporting characters who are sort of one-note, but hit that note with perfection: Jonah Hill's over-eager waiter (who happens to be a big fan of Aldous), Jack McBrayer and Maria Thayer as as a pair of newlyweds who, having saved themselves for marriage, are having radically different reactions to their new intimacy, and Paul Rudd as a surfing instructor whose memory is pretty much fried. Rudd has built up quite a roster of scene-stealing minor roles, but for this movie it's tough to beat Billy Baldwin's self-parody as Sarah Marshall's co-star in Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime; every clip of that series kills.

There are going to be a lot of people who assume Judd Apatow directed this movie from the advertising, and hopefully Nicholas Stoller will take that as a compliment. It does have a lot of the same feel as The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, and winds up being a little better than the latter. It's got a very nice balance of crude but effective jokes and honest emotion, and seldom stops being funny in order to be sentimental - in fact, the final sequences, when the movie could have gotten maudlin, are some of the most densely-packed with jokes of the movie.

Which is saying something; there's a lot of funny stuff in the movie. Wouldn't it be great if all actors could write such good vehicles for themselves?

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=17021&reviewer=371
originally posted: 04/18/08 00:00:00
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2008 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/01/20 The girl with the draggin' sanfu Almost as disgusting as Joe Biden's promise to magically cure COVID-19 1 stars
12/29/17 morris campbell funny but 2 long is that peter north the porn star 4 stars
1/09/11 fartvenugen How does one forget Forgetting Sarah Marshall? Garbage. 1 stars
2/23/10 Peter North this movie was hilarious....and I want to be inside Mila's Kunis..... 5 stars
2/18/10 Monday Morning Very unfunny, especially Jason Segel's dick, which was totally uncalled for. And small. 2 stars
6/15/09 art OUTRAGEOUS! 4 stars
4/10/09 John Aster Jason Segal plays his usual sweet nice guy and despite crude humor a really sweet movie 5 stars
2/26/09 MP Bartley Very funny in spots with great supporting performances across the board. 4 stars
1/11/09 mr.mike Goes on a bit too long , otherwise good. 4 stars
1/07/09 Shaun Wallner Hilarious Movie! 4 stars
10/10/08 Annie G Not too bad when you just need a decent comedy. Hawaii is gorgeous as usual! 3 stars
10/04/08 Fenstwhip Shiggins We'd be so much better never having learned of Sarah Marshall, so nothing of her to forget. 1 stars
10/01/08 Charles Tatum Laughs here and there, but no comedy classic 3 stars
9/17/08 The Velcro Warlock Ugh, an unrated version advertised just when I thought I'd be forgetting Forgetting Sarah M 1 stars
9/04/08 Little Pissed Sunshine Yes, a non-farcical movie needs likeable characters;this has none (nor succeeds as farce). 1 stars
8/22/08 Kristin Bellfree So right, Jenny and Ashley. Never wanna meet paul shortt or harpy who's pulling his strings 1 stars
7/17/08 Jenny Tullwartz A should've waited for DVD so can FF thru agony to see HOW bad a pisser ending! 1 stars
7/17/08 Ashley Corpening Sarah and Rachel are BOTH unlikeable, and Aldous is nothing but a caricature! 1 stars
7/13/08 Private Found this to be overrated. Cast was willing but execution and script was largely flat. 3 stars
7/05/08 Samantha Pruitt Superbad was better, but this is still pretty funny! 5 stars
6/01/08 George Barksdale Funny, had a good time. 4 stars
5/27/08 g awesome 5 stars
5/14/08 Simon Hilarious of course, but spotty seriousness, Apatow= scatterbrained; Kunis sure is gorgeous 4 stars
4/29/08 J Extremely funny. 5 stars
4/25/08 Teresa Goodwin This was absolutely hilarious, a must see! 5 stars
4/25/08 Dale it was very funny 5 stars
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  18-Apr-2008 (R)
  DVD: 30-Sep-2008


  DVD: 30-Sep-2008

Directed by
  Nick Stoller

Written by
  Jason Segel
  Judd Apatow

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

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