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FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, 2008
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FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL MOVIE POSTER
FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL
Movie Review

Directed by Nicholas Stoller
Starring Jason Segal, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Bill Hader
Review by Eli Manning



SYNOPSIS:

Devastated Peter takes a Hawaii vacation in order to deal with recent break-up with his TV star girlfriend, Sarah. Little does he know Sarah's traveling to the same resort as her ex ... and she's bringing along her new boyfriend.

REVIEW:

Another installment from the Judd Apatow chronicles (40 year old Virgin, Superbad, Knocked Up). This time it's TV star Jason Segal (How I Met your Mother) starring in his own screenplay about a guy trying to get over his TV star girlfriend. So he heads off to Hawaii where low and behold his ex is also staying at the same hotel with her new musician boyfriend. This movie sniffs of an autobiographical tale from Segal, perhaps too much.

One side note is that this film is the first film in my memory that showcases male frontal nudity WITHOUT any female nudity at all. The penis shows up 5 minutes in and makes another cameo near the end and it's not there for a sexual reaction. Perhaps that's where we are right now -- the male body is showcased in films as a comedy bit, whereas the female body is usually always showcased as a sexual bit. Wonder where we'll be in 20 years.

Seems these days that the comedies that are big successes these days are ensemble comedies -- think Apatow's 'Superbad' and 'Virgin'. It's the lead who is the straight-man who lets the supporting characters be there for the big laughs. The best part about Forgetting Sarah Marshall are the supporting characters. There's the always good Paul Rudd playing the clueless Surfer coach, the newlywed husband Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) with the sexual problems and the super cool musician boyfriend of Sarah Marshall (Russell Brand). All are great and funny and the best part of the film. But there's just not enough of them. Another case in a movie where you wished it was another character's story and not the lead.

Screenwriter Segal wrote a nice character for himself but even better characters for better comedic actors. He's not the driving force in this film (that usually goes to the director and producer), so he doesn't have that much pull - but you sort of wished he wrote less of himself and more of the other characters in the film. Or that they did another script rewrite with another writer to sharpen the main screenwriter's own character as he seemed to have underwritten himself!

For two hours (a long time for a comedy) we see an upset guy who is in pain about a girl. I think almost every man who is 22 or older can relate to this pain. It's so much pain that it actually is funny from an outside perspective -- but not for two hours. If this film cuts about 20 minutes off (and there's plenty of choices), I think it's a much better film and a really good film at that.

That seems to be Apatow's mantra. He makes really long comedies. 40 Year Old Virgin works at two hours, but this film doesn't. It's just goes on and on like we're watching home videos of someone else's vacation. In a way that is exactly what we're watching - someone else's vacation. But I'm not into this guy enough for me to really follow him for this long. I wished that I was able to control the camera and track down the Surfer coach and the cool musician and hang out with them for a bit. The man who's Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a man that began to bore me to tears.

The new love interest played by Mila Kunis from TV's That 70's Show (everyone in this film seems to be from a TV show) is a woman that I think every man would fall for. It just seemed that she was just too good for Segal. There's a lot better guys than that guy for a girl like her. I don't mind watching be-fumbled loser types in films as that seems to be the trend these days -- and all of us have a little loser in us to relate with. But enough is enough and it seems that the Apatow gang has run its course. Like the Farrelly Brothers needed to do after a string of hits and then a string of bombs. It's time to take a break as this reviewer is tired of the same old movie.

But who knows, this film might be a hit and I might be totally wrong. This reviewer just thinks this isn't a great film -- but with another stab at the screenplay and a little cutting in the editing room, this would of been a classic comedy that would be remembered from years to come. Unfortunately, they just made another OK comedy with some funny laughs, but not enough laughs and not a lead character we really cared about that much.

2 1/2 stars out of 4

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