Forgetting Sarah Marshall - Review

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

The first point any review will tell you about "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," is how much Jason Segel you'll be seeing. And they don't mean that in terms of revealing character, they mean that Jason Segel is literally naked, very naked, at the film's start. While within it's context it is hilarious (albeit a bit sophomoric) it manages to serve as an initial Rorschach test. From the start you'll either be laughing, or you won't. And if you aren't, then there really isn't a great deal left for you here. It's certainly not all naked jokes throughout, in fact there's a whole host of hilarious situations and characters, but the same naked and exposed sense of humor is at the films heart.

The latest film from director Nicholas Stoller and penned by Jason Segel, follows the character of Peter (Jason Segel) as he navigates his way out of a messy break-up with television star Sarah Marshall, only to corner himself between she and her new rock-god boyfriend at a Hawaiian resort. It's one big set-up after another, at times even predictably so, but the creative and downright charming characters thrown in make it spontaneous and fresh. There's the newly-wed Christian couple on their honeymoon, the highly educated Hawaiian bartender, and my personal favorite, Chuck, the mildly brain-damaged surfing instructor (played by Paul Rudd). Frankly, he steals the show. He reflects the island's laid-back nature by saying "Yeah I don't even wear a watch!" "That sounds really nice" Peter replies.
"Yeah, besides, my cell-phone tells me the time anyways, so you know..."
It's that kind of false perceptions that Forgetting Sarah Marshall latches onto and manages to expose with such a hilarious force.

So here's how to watch it. Try to go when the theater is packed, or at the very least with as many friends as possible. To be honest with you, a great majority of these gags are based upon reactions. It's not so much that it's funny, I don't think, it's that none of us really expect it to be so funny. With a crowd, you get a sense of comradery that tends to be so prevalent with Judd Apatow related works. Outside of that, it'll still be funny, just a different experience.

I feel bad that the film seems to underestimate the simplest and goodhearted moments these characters have to offer in lieu of the degrading situations. Take for example Peter's heartfelt explanation of how his cereal container reminds him of his ex-love, and how he can now have the "freshest" cereal thanks to her. Strangely, and hilariously, it's emotionally affecting.
I wanted more of that.

I liked Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Sure, I did feel a tad guilty afterwards, but I liked it. It has it's fair share of problems, including a lack of closure with a number of characters. But with the sheer number of characters in here, and the number of cameos and performances I can't even list, it's natural that some things get nudged aside. As Chuck puts it so eloquently, "When life gives you lemons, just say 'F*** the lemons,' and bail."
It's well worth the price of admission.

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