Forgetting Sarah Marshall: The Ultimate Romantic Disaster Movie (2008)

Posted: July 8, 2011 in Comedy, Drama, Music

Peter Bretter and Sarah Marshall have had a great long relationship, but their happiness is coming to an end. Sarah surprises Peter at his apartment to break up with him. Taking it a little hard, he stops being able to concentrate at work, struggles to connect with any of the women he meets and is in a nearly constant state of tears. On a whim, he chooses to take a trip to Hawaii (which happens to be the place that Sarah always wanted to go). He arrives hoping to find a room when he runs into Sarah and her current boyfriend, rock legend Aldous Snow. Nearly destroyed by the encounter, receptionist Rachel Jansen swoops in to help him save face. Peter continues to exhibit bad decisions and an attraction to unfortunate circumstances but may have a chance to move on if he can only hit it off with Rachel.

Starring: Jason Segel (Peter Bretter), Kristen Bell (Sarah Marshall), Mila Kunis (Rachel Jansen), Russell Brand (Aldous Snow), Bill Hader (Brian Bretter), Liz Cackowski (Liz Bretter), Jack McBrayer (Darald), Jonah Hill (Matthew), Paul Rudd (Chuck), Kala Alexander (Greg)

Jason Segel is the perfect pathetic romantic. Throughout the film, he has a great balance of awkwardness, growing confidence and genuineness in his portrayal of a man struggling to cope with a broken heart. Sarah Marshall, played by Kristen Bell, has more of an unsatisfied personality. Bell does a good job with being dismissive during the breakup and initial meeting in Hawaii, while becoming more conflicted as the story goes on. Mila Kunis has one outburst to show a connection with Segel’s character, but she actually serves more as a tamer personality perfect to help Segel’s character move on in life. Russell Brand continues to play the same type of character in each film but gives a great comedic addition to the group. Bill Hader, Jack McBrayer, Jonah Hill and Paul Rudd add a great quirkiness with each of their characters, whether it be berating the lead or obsessing over the rock star.

Nicolas Stoller has had great success with a few other big comedies like Get Him to the Greek and Yes Man. While many of his films are over the top, this one is still extremely funny while feeling a little more subdued. There is a lot of nakedness of Jason Segel, the fun of the Russell Brand’s incoherent babbling and an unique puppet-based Dracula musical. Outside of these features and two fight scenes, the drama and conflict comes from verbal interactions, visual cues and poor (but good for the viewer) timing. To focus on the concept of moving on, Peter struggles mostly because he lacks the interpersonal and emotional tools to find resolution in his pain. This is fairly realistic, in particular with the lack of strong social support portrayed in the film. It sometimes can be a revelation or a series of events that help to push someone dealing with loss to recovery, and Peter was able to find his way through both methods.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a fun, playful comedy that has some dead jokes but overall maintains a great sense of blending of humor.

Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5


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