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Maybe I just get too demanding when it comes to Judd Apatow productions, but "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is well, forgettable. It's not any worse than the average romantic comedy, but it's not much better either. Ten minutes in you know how the movie will end, which is bothersome because you expect Apatow's team to reinvent this genre at least a tiny bit. But nope, they just follow the same old tired formula everyone else uses. The comedy is pretty decent, but not perfect either. Jason Segel is fantastic in the lead and does great with the material he's got, but the supposedly hilarious secondary characters never really take off. Russell Brand is only funny for the first two scenes, then you've seen it. Jonah Hill is better, but there you have the opposite problem: he's underused. This movie just can't give you a break. The full frontal male nudity is also sort of a desperate attempt to be edgy, a really uninspired attempt to distinguish itself. I didn't hate "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", but it's no well, anything else Apatow has produced.
How this movie got good reviews, I will never know. And how people got tricked into liking this movie, is mind boggling. Just a note, I really liked Get Him to The Greek & I Love You Man, so I usually enjoy this realm of comedy. But the comedy in this movie is weak and falls flat. In hindsight, I try to think of one funny moment in this movie and I honestly can't. Well then; the story line must be good and/or entertaining... nope, not at all. The 2 main characters are undeveloped and unlikeable as well. The main character Peter (Jason Segel) is really good in I love you man, so it was obviously the directer and the story line that sucked. Mila Kunis (Rachel) has some like-ability. I also like the Aldous Snow character, but that can't even come close to making up for this pathetic excuse for a movie. It's not only humorless, but approx 3/4 of this movie are uncomfortable to watch and at no point are they situations that are uncomfortable in a funny way. I don't always dock a movie because of predictability, but from the moment Peter get's to his vacation destination, you know exactly how this movie will play out. Some things in life are unexplainable; for example, the Pyramids and how people got tricked into liking this movie. It's uncompromisable & mind boggling! As badly as I would like to rate this movie a 1 out of 10. I will give it an honest rating, which is a 3 out of 10.
As wild as that line is, it's hilarious when you hear it delivered in
this movie. It's one of number of memorable moments that you'll get
from watching this comedic gem.
Basically, the movie is about a fellow who gets dumped by his TV-actress girlfriend. When he goes to a Hawaiian resort to forget about her, he learns that that's where she and her new rock-star boyfriend are staying - and he keeps bumping into them!
It's a pretty standard-sounding storyline, but the movie has plenty of gags and engaging moments to keep one interested. The fast pace makes it easy to stay interested. The movie is a bit edgy - so keep that in mind (case in point: there are some extended scenes with full male nudity of the lead, Jason Segel).
All an all, this movie was very well done. Not only are there are a number of laugh-out-loud moments, but you'll get interested in the story as well. Definitely worth a watch if you're in the mood for a comedy.
I expected this would be another shallow chick flick with recycled jokes and two-dimensional characters. Luckily this movie far exceeded my expectations. It is a funny, fairly original comedy with a decent amount of character development. It especially surprised me how both Sarah and her new boy-friend are portrayed not simply as self-absorbed jerks. In the course of the movie you will probably find Aldous a weird but likable guy, whilst you will understand why Peter's and Sarah's relationship failed. The flashbacks of their relationship are very entertaining because it will certainly remind you of a relationship you or your friends had (or have). Overall, the casting department did a really good job and each of the characters got some good laughs on their side. Jonah Hill's role was a bit superfluous in my opinion, whilst Jack McBrayer really cracked me up by playing just another version of his role in '30 Rock'. Russel Brand's character was my favourite, very well written and played. There are a few sex scenes and vulgar jokes, but they come in small doses such that it won't put people off who do not appreciate this kind of humour. Go watch this for some light and not too brainless entertainment!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am very puzzled by this film and my reaction to it.
It's a comedy. Look, it says so on the DVD box. Lots of people say it's funny. And it's true that there was a bit I laughed at.
But generally speaking, a large part of the movie is devoted to telling the story of a man who is experiencing a great deal of difficulty in dealing with the destructive feelings he is suffering following the breakup of a relationship. Much of the way this is dealt with is actually very truthful and was not, to me, very funny.
But I did enjoy it quite a lot as a drama with humour. The four individuals forming the two couples are all well drawn characters: each has a ring of truth, with strengths and weaknesses, likable traits as well as negative elements. On that basis I recommend it.
But a comedy it ain't. Not in my book at any rate.
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
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.
*** 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
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Forgetting Sarah Marshall chronicles the misadventures of Peter
Bretter, a musician who composes music scores for TV shows. He works on
a show called 'Crime Scene' (which is a satiric takeoff on shows like
'CSI'). The star of the show is a cute blonde named Sarah Marshall, who
Peter has been dating for about five years. Sarah shows up one day at
his apartment and announces that she's dating a rock star and their
relationship is over. From the outset one wonders what Sarah sees in
Peter. His apartment is a pigsty, he hates his job and it seems that
his muse to create a great musical theater piece has completely left
Peter has a stepbrother, Brian, who encourages him to start dating other women (Brian and his wife periodically pop up later in the film via a computer video link but the comic possibilities between Peter and his nutty stepbrother are never developed). Peter still can't get Sarah out of his mind so he decides to take a trip to Hawaii where Sarah liked to vacation. When he arrives at the resort hotel without a reservation, a cute brunette working at the front desk, Rachel, takes a liking to him and lets him stay at their most expensive suite for free. Meanwhile, Peter, discovers to his horror that Sarah is staying at the same hotel with her New-Age, rock star boyfriend.
The first half of 'Act 2' focuses on Peter's inability to stop obsessing over the breakup of his relationship with Sarah. The main bit is Peter continually breaking down and crying whenever memories of Sarah pop up in his mind. In one particularly unfunny scene, Peter gets a call from Rachel from the front desk asking whether he can hear a woman crying in an adjacent room; of course it's Peter who's the one who's been bawling the whole time! Meanwhile, Sarah's boyfriend, Aldous Snow is an affable Brit who's avoided drinking for seven years. He invites Peter to dinner but Peter can't face Sarah with the thought that she's with someone else.
At the midpoint, Peter attempts to 'forget' Sarah Marshall. He goes out on a date with Rachel who turns out to have a shady ex-boyfriend who ends up punching Peter in the face. Despite her attraction to bad boys in the past, she finds the goofy Peter amusing and attractive. Peter receives encouragement from various comic types who work at the hotel or hang out at the beach. A loony surfer instructor teaches Peter how to surf but he clumsily ends up colliding with Aldous while surfing and is knocked out cold.
Peter's relationship with Rachel remains platonic. Soon Sarah is finding out that Aldous is no great catch. He announces he's going on tour and might have herpes. Before you know it, he breaks his vow of abstinence and crudely brags of sexual conquests with other women while drunk. Sarah is no longer "into" the boyfriend and wants to start things up with Peter again. They have a brief sexual encounter but Peter realizes he's smitten with Rachel. He confesses to her of his brief fling with Sarah to prove his 'honesty' but Rachel takes it in the wrong way and rejects him. In a last moment of desperation, he tries to prove his love to her by tearing off a topless picture of Rachel pinned on the wall of a bathroom at a local club, only to be mercilessly beaten by the bartender-owner who considers the picture his property and domain.
The beating appears to wake Peter up. He goes home and starts exercising and his muse returns. He's now composing a puppet musical about Dracula. In the best scene of the film, Peter puts his comic musical on before an appreciative audience. One wonders why the Dracula musical couldn't have been developed more and featured as a main part of the plot. Rachel ends up coming to see the musical and they end up reconciling.
Describing the plot of 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' is difficult precisely because it's so disjointed. One searches in vain for a story arc that builds to a satisfying conclusion. Rather 'Marshall' feels like a series of skits thrown together that for the most part do not pay off. And when Peter, our lovable loser hero, finally redeems himself and turns into a 'mensch' at the climax, we've spent much too much time with him as a surly 'loser'; the transformation into a good guy is undeserved as he is basically quite misanthropic until the last 15 minutes of the movie.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall could have been a much better comedy. There was the potential for satire, particularly in the CSI takeoffs at the beginning and end of the film that were never developed into something really clever. The same goes for the aforementioned puppet show (the most original moment in the film). Finally, the idea that Sarah would pathetically try and rekindle her romance with Peter after everything he put her through left me feeling unsatisfied. Despite Peter's positive transformation at the end, somehow I would have liked to have seen Sarah go off on her own without feeling the need to hook back up with an ex-boyfriend who treated her so poorly during most of their relationship.
I am excited about the new crop of American comedies that have been
emerging lately. This Rogan/Apatow crew has consistently brought
audiences modern stories full of honest characters ("Knocked Up" being
the exception) and jokes that have not been dragged through movie mud
over and over again.
At first, I was unsure of where the comedy was going with this one. It starts off a little shaky, but then finds its groove and carries the audience laughing all the way through the credits.
The plot is simple: A guy gets dumped. Her tries to et over her, and winds up running into her. Her falls in love with another woman, and the ex now wants him back. Easy enough, right?
But with the dead on humor (some raunchy, some just genuinely hilarious), this movie shines as a comic tour-De-force for all involved. The jokes are timely but not dated (whereas "Knocked Up" lacked credibility with its Hot-Girl-Loves-Slob routine and its dated references to movie lines and TV shows.) This one is funnier than "Knocked Up" and "40 Year Old Virgin," but not quite better than "Superbad." All in all, these original comedies are fresh, exciting and genuine to the core.
Although the movie has some of sophomoric humor you would expect from
this kind of premise and this group of movie makers, it actually
surprises you with some stylish humor in its design that bears some
(dare I say it?) originality.
First, it's written with more attention to character study than is customary in these types of comedies. The writer gave them depth, and concocted them with strategic flaws, quirks, strengths, etc., so that their contrasting personalities would collide and bounce off each other with humorous results. The rock star new boyfriend (Russell Brand) of Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) in most movies like this would usually be a worn-out cliché of a dim-witted guy with slow mumbling speech who thinks the world owes him something. If anything, the film actually takes pokes at how these clichés have been so over-used. Brand takes this surprisingly amiable guy, who befriends his potential rival Brian, and runs with it. He gets some of the best laugh lines, too.
Bell, as the titular Sarah Marshall, is excellent. She, too, could have been a stock foul-mouthed, self satisfying, worthless bimbo type who spends hours in front of the mirror. Although the selfishness is there, it's at a believable level, and there are even fleeting moments when a good side to Sarah is shown. Mila Kunis plays Rachel, Peter's new girl friend, who works at a resort hotel in Hawaii, where all the action takes place. Either Kunis has improved immensely since her sitcom "70's Show" days, or else her role here as Rachel just gave her a more rounded character to work with: she is fabulous in this film.
Only Jason Segel (as the broken hearted Peter) is weak in his role; ironic, since he is the writer of the script. It's obvious his intent is to reverse typical gender personality types for the comic effect. Peter is clingy, explosively emotive, cries, and can't let go of the broken relationship. This all works for funny moments, but Segel's performance has a feel of "Look how fully I am!" It's more over done than comic exaggeration needs to be. Also, someone tell Mr. Segel we really don't need to see his full frontal poses: he plays them as a joke, OK, but they evoke barf bag reactions, not laughs.
This film falls into the trap of throwing in some mindless stuff, but overall, it's a surprising treat that's fun to watch.
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