Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Directed by Nicholas Stoller
Starring Jason Segel, Kirsten Bell, Mila Kunis, Bill Hader, Russell Brand
Universal Home Entertainment
Release date: September 30, 2008
We are now in the midst of a treacherous tidal wave of new cinema: the lewd, crude, and highly sexual cinema. Itâ€™s the kind that produces movies that really hone in on the sexual world that we are a part of today. With each film that comes along in this genre, itâ€™s always the newest film pushing the envelope farther and farther from its predecessors. Just refer to 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Superbad. Now we can add Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a sexual breakup comedy, to this infamous list. All of these sexual comedies, especially the latter, make past movies of the same genre (American Pie) look like childâ€™s play.
Whatâ€™s so cool and special about these raunchy comedies are the fact that theyâ€™re made possible by the same group of people. This group of people all answer to writer-director-producer Judd Apatow. He has the knack of putting movies out to the public that involve his favorite people to work with. He gives the director here, Nicholas Stoller, his first crack at success. It shows heâ€™s a virgin to directing when the film looses its mirth in the second act.
When you look at the cast of Forgetting Sarah Marshall it can be the cast of any of the movies that I recently stated above. You know youâ€™re in store for something daring with lewdness so crude that it makes you not want to watch their films with anybody except for your friends.
Each of the films that Apatow is at helm of, thereâ€™s always an involvement of such a simple plot and a mediocre-looking guy surrounded by unexplainably hot and sexy woman. Peter Bretter (Jason Segel, who wrote the script full of hilarity and current event references) is the mediocre-looking guy who has the dream of creating a puppet musical version of Dracula. He’s a working musician who has the job of writing â€œominous and darkâ€ tones for the hit show Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime, of which his girlfriend Sarah Marshall (Kirsten Bell) is star of opposite of William Baldwinâ€™s character.
We learn Sarah and Peterâ€™s relationship through ways of flashback scenes because as the movie opens she comes to his messy apartment to break up with him. This is when we receive the â€˜etched in your mindâ€™ moment of Peterâ€™s penis. Segel (known from the series Freaks and Geeks), by doing this scene, shows his balls in a different way, reacting as if his world has just collapsed from under his feet and no clue where to turn next in life.
His stepbrother (Bill Hader) has the idea for Peter to go on a vacation to Hawaii to get away from the situation. Here he cries himself to sleep but also finds new life in a smoldering concierge of the resort, Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis). Soon Peter finds Sarah there too with her new beau, British singing sensation Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). This sets up the bulk of the movie in Hawaii where the two couples endure late night dinners, bonfires, arguments, and of course, sex.
Itâ€™s Brandâ€™s character who is the glue of the film. Heâ€™s discharging a state of tranquility throughout the entire film even when tension is at its highest. Heâ€™s trying to befriend Peter instead of crushing him like a little bug. The two are polar opposites from looks to occupation (one’s a star singer, the other’s a struggling one).
Along the way and around the corners of this Hawaiian resort are the familiar faces of Paul Rudd, who plays a stoner surfing instructor and Jonah Hill as a restaurant host obsessed with Aldous.
All of Apatowâ€™s movies focus on men, who are really boys at heart, being dragged away from their comfort level and into a world where they feel awkward and vulnerable and how they deal with such situations distinguishes them. He has the aptitude of creating such sloppy and kiddish men and turning them into such hunks who occupy deep feelings. Now Mr. Apatow, let’s turn the tables and focus on a mediocre-looking woman whoâ€™s swamped with handsome men.
A gorgeous locale setting gets the ultimate treatment. The beach resorts of Hawaii get an upgrade, as if it actually needed one, as Forgetting Sarah Marshall is transferred to display a 1080p picture. The transfer literally brings the Hawaiian environment into your living room. Hereâ€™s a film which is modest in size and scope that offers a stunning clarity in its picture quality. It seems nowadays when a movie gets made initially, the production team now has to think how the movie will look in high definition. The Blu-ray captures every minute detail that Hawaii has to offer from the blue waters and rich greens, to an array of other exotic colors that bode well with the food, flowers, and attire. All the colors are balanced so well that we never feel encompassed by them.
An extended unrated version of the film compliments the theatrical version. The standouts amongst the special features is a particular deleted scene (Sarah Marshall horseback riding), video diaries, and auditions that capture Russell Brand and his ability to sway the filmâ€™s writers to switch his part from a stuck-up British author to a British rock-star. Yet, it is Segelâ€™s weird passion that he has for that Dracula play that is a major part of this production. Originally writing it on his own time, the director liked the idea so much that he literally built the movie around it.
Two of the best features include Russell Brand. After watching the movie, feel free to explore the karaoke feature which allows you to sing along with Aldous Snow’s band Infant Sorrow and Peterâ€™s “Dracula Lament.” The other Brand feature is a five-minute segment of him performing a special appearance on a Sesame Street-like show, focusing on the letter.
*** out of ****