Forgetting Sarah Marshall
dir Nicholas Stoller
scr Jason Segel
with Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Kristen Wiig, Davon McDonald, Kala Alexander, Billy Baldwin, Jason Bateman
release US 18.Apr.08, UK 25.Apr.08
08/US Universal 1h48
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
The other man: Segel, Bell and Brand

kunis hill rudd
See also:
Get Him to the Greek (2010)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Forgetting Sarah Marshall The Apatow gang strikes again, with another adult-oriented comedy about relationship complications, this time centring on the difficulty of the break-up. Besides being hilariously funny, it's also rather insightful, with some very smart dialog.

Peter (Segel) is a sensitive musician who's been in a relationship with TV star Sarah (Bell) for five years. Naturally, he's crushed when she dumps him, and can barely face going to work, which is understandable since he scores her TV series. His best friend (Hader) urges him to get out of town, so he heads for Hawaii, where he discovers that Sarah is in the same hotel with her new boyfriend, flamboyant British pop star Aldous Snow (Brand). But Peter finds an escape from them while flirting with the hotel receptionist (Kunis).

Being a fairly formulaic romantic comedy, we're never really in doubt about where the plot is headed, but at least there's plenty to keep us laughing along the way. Segel's script is packed with terrific characters who gleefully refuse to sit comfortably in their stereotypes. Most notable is Aldous, the ostensible villain of the piece, who emerges as much more than that thanks to some terrific dialog and a surprisingly off-handed performance from Brand.

The soulful, doughy Segel makes a terrific leading man: his emotions are barely under the surface, so women adore him. And then walk all over him. And his complexities sit engagingly alongside Bell's and Kunis' only slightly more straightforward roles. He has terrific chemistry with both of them. And the film is further livened up by a series of hilarious side roles, including one for Rudd, better known as cinema's greatest working scene-stealer.

As a film from the Judd Apatow factory, it's also wonderfully grown-up. Nothing is softened for the PG-13 audience, from a realistic exploration of sex and sexuality to some razor sharp observations on the nature of relationships. And there are just enough wrinkles to keep us completely hooked as the romance travels through jealousy, obsession, insults, revenge and betrayal. All played for laughs, of course, but with a strong tinge of realism that sticks with us. And what other rom-com would dare to suggest that, perhaps, a lovelorn character shouldn't actually be in a relationship at all right now.

cert 15 themes, language, sexuality 11.Mar.08

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Forgetting Sarah Marshall Stephanie, Surrey: 1/5 "Okay, can I have the last two hours back please? A leading man I wanted to slap; two utterly stereotypical, one-dimensional female leads; Russell Brand being, okay, mildly amusing - but only because he was playing Russell Brand; a plot that was beyond banal and vast amounts of gratuitous shagging. I must have missed the bits that were 'insightful'." (29.Apr.08)

© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall