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Forgetting Sarah Marshall
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Forgetting Sarah Marshall More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Puppets

Author: tedg (tedg@FilmsFolded.com) from Virginia Beach
3 August 2009

This has jokes that often work. It has a genuine pathos that is surprisingly rare and is now the trademark of Apatow productions.

It has Hawaii and two women, one pretty the other a beauty. It has a deftly comic foil in the "other boyfriend." It has some frontal male nudity that probably should be commended simply because its avoidance is ridiculous. Here, in fact, we have it twice and though it is meant to punch up those scenes, I found that it actually was dramatically integrated.

But because I am a narrative folding nut, I'll point out the three inner performance folds. The girlfriend is a TeeVee star on a show for which our hero writes music. Her inner role reflects on her outer one.

The other boyfriend is a British rock star, whose onstage persona is mirrored in his character in the film. And the thing ends with the hero's play within the play. In this case it is an extremely clever musical comedy derived from Dracula and performed by a mix of puppets, humans in costume and the participating puppetmasters. It is really quite wonderful by itself and after the story ends, it is clear how the whole project grew out of it. The integration of the idea of a love that "smothers" is brilliant.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

All of the heart of typical Apatow fare at the expense of memorable laughs

7/10
Author: pyrocitor from Ontario, Canada
16 March 2009

While the melding of genuine human interplay, romantic comedy tropes and obnoxious male directed humour has seldom proved an easy course to navigate, with many such efforts leaning too strongly on one aspect at the risk of compromising the others, recent comedy superstar Judd Apatow proved particularly deft at manoeuvring the balance between them. Striking a particular chord of vulgar, bawdy humour and sweet sentiment, the unusual balance has recently become almost a subgenre in itself, permeating the recent comedy mainstream. As such, Forgetting Sarah Marshall (which Apatow produced) aims to keep a good thing going, striving for the same unique hybrid which past hits such as Knocked Up and Superbad championed. However, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, try as it might, cannot help but pale in the shadow of its predecessors, offering all of the heart of typical Apatow fare at the expense of exceptional laughs.

Which is not to say the film has nothing to offer comedically, but rather than the memorable factor of it is essentially reduced to two bookending setpieces: the much hyped naked break-up which proves the catalyst setting the plot in motion, and an inspired climax far too good to give away but which proves the indisputable high point of the film. It is the content in the middle which lags, with well intentioned gags such as mopey protagonist Peter (Segel) attempting to overcome his sorrows post break-up through a series of one night stands (though an exceptionally funny montage sequence proves a standout), and eventually fleeing to Hawaii only to find his celebrity ex-girlfriend (Bell) also vacationing there with her new beau (Brand). While the premise offers a tantalising wealth of comedic potential, the execution is less satisfying, with many gags being overly drawn out or overdone to the point of the comedy waning, despite the occasional standout laugh.

It hardly helps when the film becomes drenched in sentiment and a groan-worthy moral of striving for one's dreams being battered over the audiences' collective heads and falls prey to the typical Apatow pitfall of feeling 10-20 minutes overlong. Similarly, director Nicholas Stoller never appears to have an entirely firm grasp of how to treat his protagonist, both at times milking pathos and viewer sympathies from Peter's predicament while otherwise portraying him as weak and pathetic and extracting cruel laughs from his moping, making it more difficult to empathise with the protagonist. Granted, such a dualistic approach does accurately convey the mix of of sympathy and annoyance towards those struggling after a break-up, but a more balanced and cohesive portrayal would have made empathy with the protagonist all the more possible and appealing. However, such a double-edged complaint also mirrors one of the film's foremost strength: the authenticity and credibility of its human interactions. Scripted by star Jason Segel, the characters and their interaction with one another ring laudably true, making the film easily a sufficiently charming and amusing way to spend the time, if not as riotously funny as it feels it should be.

One of the later performers to join the pantheon of "flawed, schlubbish yet earnestly lovable" Apatow heroes, Jason Segel easily exudes easily enough charm to carry the occasionally shaky film, delivering a performance which feels both honest and irreverently silly enough to easily justify his upgrading to leading man. Mila Kunis similarly boasts a unique charm which manages to encompass being both abrasive and tender, making the romantic tension between her and Segel all the more fresh and enticing. Kristen Bell, despite struggling with an underwritten character as Peter's actress ex-girlfriend manages to bring a refreshing honesty to her performance, thankfully defying an easy stereotype to fall into. Similarly, Russell Brant raises several laughs as her spacey, pretentious new age rocker boyfriend, an essential spark of vibrant comedic life which always serves to benefit the picture. The same goes for Apatow stalwarts Jonah Hill and Paul Rudd, both making hilarious use of minuscule supporting parts as an obsessive waiter and brain-dead surfing instructor respectively.

Occasionally clunky and overly syrupy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall remains sweet and likable enough throughout to make it worth its while, though it suffers by comparison to its superior Apatow production predecessors. Nonetheless, what it lacks in belly laughs, the film makes up for in heart, making it an enjoyable if slightly forgetful film worth seeing for any fans of the genre.

-6.5/10

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Cut Out the Ending and its Great

8/10
Author: Michael Jumic from United States
8 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Compared with the 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is both surprising and predictable. What's surprising is how a comedy can be so haunting, for lack of a better word. Visually, this movie is amazing, something that one would never expect from a comedy based on so obvious a premise. The natural scenery and other worldly beauty of the film's female stars give everything a fairy tale quality in the strictest possible sense: seductive and irresistible, but at the same time disturbing. This alone makes for the most effective break up movie I've ever seen (face it, break up movies that don't draw us in inevitably fail to convey the complexity of the situation, see High Fidelity).

What's predictable is how something so stimulating and potentially engaging suddenly deflates into an ending and moral that is neither thought-provoking nor, frankly, good. In fact, it's the ending from Problem Child 2! This should come as no surprise to people familiar with this team's other movies, where humor, wit, and insight inevitably give way to the depressing (unless you're a wholly uncritical person) assurance that the ideological balance has been restored and the unquestionably "good" guys have won. Only here, the Apatow ending is shamelessly tacked on to an amazing, and not simply good, movie, and attempts to overwrite the complexity that made the movie so good! What's more, it doesn't really make sense. Turns out the creative nerd is the good guy because in this world, the shameless objectification of attractive women is perfectly acceptable. Sarah turns out to be the wicked witch of the west because she got sick of her dull boyfriend, and is basically punished for being pretty?!?!

Fortunately, as I said, it is tacked on. I plan on re-watching this, only the second time around, I'm going to stop it after he gives Rachel the picture from the bar. That's the real ending to one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

You forget Sarah because this movie drags on and on and on

2/10
Author: jamesmccormack from United States
20 February 2010

Maybe this movie would have worked with a better cast. Maybe this comedy would have worked if it has a sense of humor. As it stands, Foregetting Sarah Marshall is a totally forgettable film that will leave you wondering how it ever got made. It is kind of like several comic strips taped together to make a story.

Totally miscast is Jason Segel who makes a poor choice for a leading man. How did he get the part? Oh, he is the screenwriter. Why do we need to see him nude umpteenth times in film...and shots of his "johnson?" He is just not a comic. Jason is the weakest link of the movie just as he is on the TV show "How I Met Your Mother."

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Breaking up really IS hard to do...

Author: S.R. Dipaling from Topeka, Kansas, USA
9 October 2008

...and for Peter Bretter(Jason Segel,also the screenwriter),it proves to be something akin to a test of his spirit and willpower.

Much of the Judd Apatow stable of actors fills out the scenery and situations,the action mostly taking place on the scenic island of Oahu as the lonely,mopey hero of the film seems to be vainly trying to get over his ex of the title(Kristen Bell,tough to forget),a sexy but somewhat shallow and ultimately selfish TV actress and co-star of a CSI type drama. Of course,it only seems news to Peter that the tropical getaway he chooses to escape to was introduced to him BY the girl he's trying to forget,so his incidental bump-in(?!) with her,avec new boyfriend(Russell Brand,stealing this movie),a drippy,sleazy self-important British pop star. But just as his existential dilemma seems to be reaching critical bleakness,Peter trips into the lovely and mildly interested eyes of the pretty hotel desk clerk/concierge(Mila Kunis,completely 360 from her "That '70s Show" character).

As per any film from the Apatow company,there is more than plenty of indelicate relationship/sexual material. While the plot and character transformations take their own sweet time,it's still a mostly fun ride. Plenty of choice supporting players that include a truly repressed Christian newlywed couple(Jack McBrayer and Maira Thayer,fantastic!),a man-crushing Maitre-d(Jonah Hill making the best of a throwaway role)who aspires to be a star musician much like Brand's character,a bad-ass bartender,a low-key native party organizer and a surfer dude who's got permanent stupid(Paul Rudd in what is a hilarious somewhat inflated cameo).

NIcholas Stoller directs what could just as well be a "ghost directing" job for Mr.Apatow,as the wisecracks,naughty material and relationships seem to be grafted straight from such stuff as 40-year old Virgin or Knocked Up. A mildly painful watch for anyone who's been devastated by a break-up,this is still pleasantly raunchy, good-natured and not a waste of about two hours of time. Good fun!

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Very mildly amusing comedy, mainly vulgar and predictable.

5/10
Author: Jonathon Dabell (barnaby.rudge@hotmail.co.uk) from Todmorden, England
23 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I felt like a Scrooge-like miser while watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Around me in the cinema, people were slapping their thigh and roaring with laughter and wiping tears of mirth from their eye. I wanted to join them, really I did…. but I just wasn't "feeling" it. The film amused me occasionally; frequently it didn't; and true laugh-out-loud moments could probably be counted on one hand. Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a very similar experience to watching a Bo Derek movie called "10" – it's a little risqué and rude; it's aimed squarely at a specific target audience; and it's not as funny as everyone involved would like you to think. Ten or fifteen years from now, I think this film will be largely forgotten.

TV and movie score composer Peter Bretter (Jason Segal) is dumped by his hot girlfriend, TV actress Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). He attempts a few relationships with other girls, but each time is more disastrous than the last. Eventually Peter is persuaded by his brother to go on vacation. He chooses Hawaii as there is a resort there which Sarah often spoke highly of. Upon arrival, Peter is shocked to discover that Sarah is taking a vacation there too with her new flame, narcissistic rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). The situation looks like it's going to get out of hand until Peter befriends a pretty hotel receptionist named Rachel (Mila Kunis). Gradually he begins to develop feelings for Rachel and realises that there CAN be happiness after Sarah. He even reveals to Rachel his long-secret plan of creating a musical show based on Dracula, performed by a cast of puppets. But the course of true love is never smooth, and Peter suffers various calamities and misadventures before his fate in love is finally decided…

Perhaps the chief strength of Forgetting Sarah Marshall is that it is romantic comedy for guys AND girls. There is a certain raunchy, vulgar flavour to the proceedings which tries to tap in to the notion of a "male sense of humour". Anyone thinking they're about to watch a chick flick will quickly realise this is not so. The performances are broadly what you would expect – Segal is amusing, the girls are pretty but shallow, and Russell Brand basically plays himself. The Hawaiian locations provide a lush backdrop. There are flashes of male and female nudity, none of them particularly gratuitous but none of them all that necessary either. In the script department, the story proceeds in a fairly predictable manner, with clichéd characters and comic situations which could have been lifted from any TV sitcom. At 110 minutes (or 117 minutes if you're watching the extended version), the film is around ten or fifteen minutes longer than it ought to be, but it doesn't tax the patience to excessive levels. An easy, lazy watch overall… but not particularly worthy of the adulation that has been heaped upon it.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Forgettable Sarah

3/10
Author: commander_zero from Canada
12 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The reviews of this film were good, but not good enough to prevent me from waiting a year or so after its first appearance to rent it on DVD.

I should have waited until it hit Peachtree. What in the universe is happening to Hollywood comedy? Successful TV composer Peter is dumped by his live-in girlfriend, the even more successful TV actress Sarah Marshall. When the traumatized Peter goes to a Hawaiian resort to recover, he finds that Sarah is already there—worse yet, she is with her new boyfriend, the self-important rock star Aldous Snow.

This is where the film—up to this point not a bit funny—comes to a complete stop. Kind-hearted desk clerk Rachel—one sees this romance budding a mile away—takes pity on Peter and lets him have the hotel's best suite for free, enabling him to moon around after Sarah and her new love. Aldous, as it happens, isn't such a bad guy, but Peter resists all of his invitations to get to know him.

And there we sit. A half-hour into the film, there is an astonishing scene where Peter gets drunk in the hotel bar with the guy who plays Kenneth on "30 Rock" and a bartender who can name 200 local fish. Rachel enters. Next, Peter is playing piano by himself.

In these few minutes, all narrative stops. The film grinds to a halt. It is painful to watch, and in fact, the discerning viewer—by that I mean myself—at this point stops watching.

The how-to-write-a-great-screenplay teaching business is itself a multi-million dollar industry, but here we see deeply inept writing that has actually made it through what one assumes would be a rigorous vetting process to get to the screen. Although the critical reaction is equally amazing--how did this film get such good reviews?

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Totally AWFUL

1/10
Author: Alison Hargreaves from United Kingdom
19 February 2011

The biggest load of C R A P that I've have seen for a long time.

No story line to speak of, terrible acting and the ghastly Russell Brand - all in all the lowest common denominator in film.... DO NOT BOTHER WITH THIS ONE... EVER.....

If you want Rom Coms, there are far superior films out there - try Woody Allen films.

If you do decide to rent this abomination, prepare to be disappointed.. a lame waste of time with crude attempts at humour that fall flat on their faces.

There would be no spoilers for this film....

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11 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Forgetting Sarah Marshall was another entertaining Judd Apatow comedy

9/10
Author: tavm from Baton Rouge, La.
21 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Having been involved in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, and now Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I think it's about time to call Judd Apatow the John Hughes of this generation. With a script by star Jason Segel and players like Jack McBrayer, Russell Brand, Apatow regulars Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd, and leading ladies Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis, Apatow has once again tapped into the public's taste for the raunchy and the romantic to a uniquely captivating effect. Seeing Segel's breakup with Bell while performing full-frontal was a bravely hilarious dare on his part. Seeing McBrayer's strained attempts at satisfying his newlywed other are some of plenty of other highlights for me. One of my favorite scenes comes near the end when we see the results of the "Dracula" puppet musical Segal's character created that looked entertaining enough for me to want to see in real life! The heart, laughs, and the painfully realistic depictions of relationships as enacted here provide a wonderful mix that makes this one of the most entertaining comedies I've seen at the movies so far this year. So with all that said, I highly recommend Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

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16 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

A pleasant surprise

Author: ametaphysicalshark from prejudicemadeplausible.wordpress.com
26 July 2008

A relatively minor Apatow clan release, released in April without the sort of promotion and attention "Knocked Up", "Superbad", "Pineapple Express", etc. received, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is a pleasant surprise, a consistently entertaining romantic comedy with several scenes of effective and realistic character-oriented drama.

The film was written by star Jason Segel, who based much of the film on his relationship and breakup with "Freaks and Geeks" co-star Linda Cardellini. For a debut screenplay Segel's work is surprisingly strong as he clearly understands where and how to inject just enough dramatic realism into this comedy script. As with most comedies there are naturally several jokes which fall flat, but most of the humor is sharp and effective. Segel even managed to write a good part for annoying nitwit Russell Brand, granted the character is an... annoying nitwit, but a well-written one. Segel's screenplay succeeds mostly as a result of him being able to develop a cast of entertaining and interesting characters whose conversations feel genuine and are never boring.

Director Nicholas Stoller handles the film very well, using the Hawaiian locations to optimal effect and keeping the film moving at a fast pace. The cast is incredible, Mila Kunis in particular is a revelation and anyone used to her from "That 70's Show" will be shocked but extremely taken by the depth and range of her performance. Kristen Bell is also much better than expected, and Segel is essentially playing himself yet again. He's good at playing himself.

"Forgetting Sarah Marshall" isn't perfect and several scenes just plain fall flat, but the end result is still an effective and involving romantic comedy/drama that marks a promising writing debut for Jason Segel.

7.5/10

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