Movie Review: Forgetting Sarah Marshall – Starring Jason Segel, Kristen Bell & Mila Kunis

by Jason of New Movie Friday on April 19, 2008

in Movie Reviews

Forgetting Sarah Marshall - SoundtrackMovie: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (R)
Released: April 18th, 2008
Runtime: 1 hr. 52 min.
Ticket Price: $7.50 Matinee
Refreshments: Red Vines
Starring: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand & Bill Hader
Director: Nicholas Stoller

Rating: Worth an Early Matinee

Synopsis: A musician that hates his job providing the soundtrack to a hit TV show gets dumped by his famous TV star girlfriend that stars in that show. Devastated, he takes a trip at the prompting of his friend. Unfortunately, he decides on Hawaii and a resort that his ex used to talk about all the time and she is already there with her new British rocker boyfriend. He decides to stay and starts hanging out with a beautiful hotel employee.

Review: Forgetting Sarah Marshall leaves me perplexed. I can remember laughing a lot throughout the movie, which is good thing for a comedy. But, I can’t remember a lot of what I laughed at, which isn’t so good. I am torn, as I came away thinking it was funny enough, but also that I didn’t particularly like it all that much.

Don’t know if it was the directing, the editing, the script or some combination of the three, but the movie just doesn’t have a very good flow to it. There are some very funny moments, but also some cringe inducing unfunny ones. I kept waiting and wanting to really like it, because I actually like most of the people starring in it, but it just never happened.

Jason Segel (TV’s How I Met Your Mother), who both stars in and wrote the script, shows some real comic wit, when he isn’t incessantly flashing full frontal. He plays the lead, Peter Bretter, who gets dumped and heads for Hawaii. On the downside though, what kind of guy writes himself a starring vehicle where the only nudity in it is his? That’s just strange.

There were some moments in the movie that stand out, on the positive side. Like his Dracula rock opera, which was great. The hybrid Law & Order: SVU/CSI cop show scenes were outstanding. And, don’t leave right away when the credits roll, or you’ll miss the preview of Animal Instincts, the new fake fall series on NBC. Some of the best comedy in the movie comes from the skewering of TV and Hollywood conventions.

Also, Kristen Bell (TV’s Veronica Mars) is very good, as usual, but it is weird seeing one of my favorite TV heroines playing the girl you aren’t supposed to like and actually not liking her. I guess that shows how good she really is. She plays, Sarah Marshall, the TV star that dumps Peter and heads to Hawaii with her new boyfriend.

Unexpectedly, Mila Kunis (TV’s That ‘70s Show), who plays hotel employee Rachel Jansen that falls for Peter, turned out to be very good, as well. She shows she can play something other than annoying. The scene in the bar where she gets Peter up on stage to sing a song from his, in development, rock opera is terrific. Her watching him embarrass himself, but you can see she gets him and the song and you just can’t take your eyes off of her.

One of the best things in the movie is the small part played by Jack McBrayer (TV’s 30 Rock), even if he is just pretty much playing the same character he plays on TV. Also, Bill Hader (TV’s Saturday Night Live) has some good lines playing off of Segel.

Now for the things that weren’t so great. They include the over-the-top British rocker played by Russell Brand (Penelope), the creepy hotel employee played by Jonah Hill (Superbad), and as mentioned before, Segel’s full frontal.

As with a lot of nudity in films, it usually isn’t needed to move the story forward, or in this case, to try and create some comedy. Forgetting Sarah Marshall plays at being a bawdy sex comedy with plenty of raunchy sex scenes, but it has no nudity, except for a few peeks at Peter’s peter, which isn’t part of any of those scenes. It’s similar to the sex montage in Good Luck Chuck from last year, which was unfunny and unneeded, but in that case, full of female nudity. Creating groans and gasps, but no laughs is not what the moviegoer is looking for in a comedy, as shock does not equal funny.

Overall, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is worth seeing at some point, but in the long run won’t end up being very memorable. Well, at least not for being funny, even though, for the most part, it is.

What did you think of Forgetting Sarah Marshall? Let us know in the comments.

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