Well, this blog has finally reached a pretty significant milestone. When this review is finished, this will be the 50th movie review that I’ve posted since I restarted this blog back in February. So, when this post is over, I will be making a best of list that has what I think are the best pictures, director, actors, etc. That should be pretty cool. My little sister is hanging out at my apartment tonight so my reviews for the evening won’t be my traditional slate of films and more just the stuff she wanted to watch, but that’s cool because she has pretty good taste in movies like her big brother. So, the big number 50 for this blog is Forgetting Sarah Marshall, an under-rated gem from modern comedic genius Judd Apatow.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall is the story of Peter Brenner (Jason Segel), a slacker who is a composer for a hit TV show that is an obvious jab at the glut of procedural crime dramas on TV. The star of the show is Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) and she’s also Peter’s girlfriend. The film starts out with Sarah dumping Peter, and after a serious period of mentally unstable mourning, Peter decides to go to Hawaii to regroup. Unfortunately, Sarah and her new beau, music superstar Aldous Snow (Russell Brand in a scene-stealing performance), are also at the same resort. Over the course of the trip, Peter meets and falls for one of the hotel-workers played by the always beautiful Mila Kunis. The film is a hilarious and heart-breaking look at arrested emotional development, getting over heart break, and finding new love.
This is a Judd Apatow film so you can pretty much expect the course of the films humor. It simultaneously combines absolutely raunchy and depraved humor with a genuine and heart-felt look at the emotional state of its protagonists. That’s what makes the Apatow films a cut above all of the other comedy films out there. They fill their films with smartly written sex humor with characters that are superbly written and completely relatable. With the exception of Annie Hall‘s Alvy Singer, there is no other fictional character that I relate to more than to Steve Carrell’s Andy from 40 Year Old Virgin. Peter is no exception. While you’re laughing your ass off this whole movie (or cringing when it gets absolutely uncomfortable), your heart is also breaking for how sad and pathetic his life has gotten. Hell, even his now infamous fully-frontal nude scene is tinged with serious emotional levity (and humor).
The supporting cast of this film is brilliant, and there are some really great turns in it. Russell Brand steals pretty much ever second he’s on screen with his role as the drugged out, vacuous superstar Aldous Snow. He gets some of the best lines in the film and its most hilarious non sequitirs. It’s really a shame that they had to take the character to far by giving him his own movie, the less than stellar Get Him to the Greek. Jonah Hill was also pretty fantastic as an obsessed fanboy who is practically stalking Aldous. Also, Paul Rudd is great as an island stoner. The only acting disappointment was Kristen Bell, who I think is a terribly over-rated actress. I nearly forgot about 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer who is absolute riot as a newly wed who is having trouble consummating his marriage. His scenes nearly had me in tears.
This isn’t Judd Apatow’s best film but this is still a pretty awesome one. The puppet rock opera is a definite stylistic highlight. Peter is definitely one of Apatow’s best characters. As long as as you can handle the extremely raunchy humor, this is a must watch. This is actually a pretty sad and character driven film, but it definitely has its hilarious moments.
Final Score: A-