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Movie Review: 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall'

April 21st, 2008 11:51am EDT
Forgetting Sarah MarshallWhen watching a trailer for Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the sound bite "from the people who brought you 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up" is played. They've gotten you on a technicality. Forgetting Sarah Marshall has some producers and cast members in common with the previous movies, but is the brain child of actor Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) who wrote the script for this predictable yet enjoyable romantic comedy.

The movie begins with Sarah Mashall (Kristen Bell), a television actress in a CSI type show complete with Billy Baldwin doing his best David Caruso, breaking up with her longtime boyfriend Peter (Segel) Many reviewers have pointed out that this scene is done with Segel being completely nude which isn't really that big of deal, and if it is, there are some issues somebody needs to work on. Broken and whiny, Segel eventually heads to Hawaii to forget about his ex, only to run into her and her new beau, singer British singer Aldous Snow (Russel Brand). Peter is an emotional wreck and spends the first half of the movie crying and drinking, oh and befriending half the hotel staff including the front desk clerk Rachel (Mila Kunis)

I won't go into the rest of the plot, because if you've seen the trailers you know exactly what is going to happen. We're talking the structure of boy gets dumped, boy finds new girl, boy does something stupid with his ex, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. If I ruined anything I'm sorry, but the plot isn't rocket science. Throw in some backstory about Peter wanting to write a Dracula rock opera with puppets and Rachel maybe wanting to go back to college, and you're in for a popcorn comedy.

What really shines in this film are the characters, with an especially funny cameo by Paul Rudd as a surf instructor and Jack McBrayer (Kenneth on 30 Rock) as a honeymooner in a useless but amusing side story involving quite a bit of sex. Kunis and Segel have instant chemistry and are believable in their role as two jilted people looking for love. As the genuinely unlikable Sarah Marshall, Bell isn't given the easiest task, but at no point was this reviewer seeing Veronica Mars on screen, which is always a plus for actors. Special kudos goes to Segel for writing and Russel Brand for portraying the new man, who is both funny and 3-dimensional. It would have been so easy to dislike the character, but in the end you kinda feel for the guy, even if he is a bit of a man-whore. The reason for Jonah Hill's popularity eludes me once again as he plays a waiter obsessed with Aldous Snow, in a role that I couldn't help but think was written specifically for Hill by Segel. Hill has a few funny lines that grow stale halfway through the film.

So with an entertaining retread of familiar territory by a capable cast of actors, I spent the whole two hours engaged in everything that was happening on screen. After the credits rolled a few funny lines stuck in my head, and by the time I got home I just remembered having an enjoyable time. This isn't the next comedic masterpiece, but it sure isn't an over hyped waste of a movie ticket either.

Annoying pun alert in 3...2...1. While you won't forget Sarah Marshall, you won't really remember her either.



Story by Dan Chruscinski
Starpulse contributing writer