Forgetting Sarah Marshall


Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Written by:Jason Segel
Starring: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd
Released: April 17, 2008
Grade: A

I have to be really careful with films that I love.  If I talk up a movie too much, then people’s expectations are raised and they may not enjoy it (at least to the same level that I did).  I didn’t know a lot about Forgetting Sarah Marshall before I saw it.  I thought it was going to be another standard, low-brow comedy.  Now that I’ve seen it, my opinions have completely changed.  This will probably be the best romantic comedy of the year.

The film was written by 28-year-old Peter Segel.  When you look at his resume, you’ll see that Segel is a guy who has been acting for a long time but hasn’t found his big break.  He’s had small roles in films such as Can’t Hardly Wait, Dead Man On Campus and Knocked Up.  For the last 4 years, he’s been a feature actor in the television series How I Met Your Mother.

In 2008, the time has come for Peter Segel to shine.  He’s written his own script and put himself in the leading role.  Putting their money behind him and producers Judd Apatow and Shauna Robertson, the same two people behind Superbad, Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin.  I guess they liked his script and it’s not hard to see why.

Segel plays Peter Bretter, a music composer who works on a high-profile TV show called “Crime Scene: Scene Of The Crime.”  His long-time girlfriend is Sarah Marshall, the star of the show.  It may sound strange that a big name actress is dating a nerdy looking guy like Peter but there you go.  There’s hope for some of us yet.

Bad times are ahead however.  Sarah tells Peter that’s she breaking up with him.  She’s fallen in love with a rock musician named Aldous Snow (Brand).  The “break up” scene is actually quite funny (as strange as that sounds).  Peter is a blubbering mess for a few days and just can’t stop crying.  On the advice of a friend, he decides to go on a spur of the moment holiday to Hawaii to help clear his head.

It seems that fate is conspiring against Peter.  When he arrives at his beach-side hotel, he finds that Sarah is also there on holiday.  He doesn’t want to look like he’s running away so he decides to continue on with his holiday.  Unfortunately, watching her have fun with her new boyfriend only seems to make things more difficult.  She pops up everywhere he goes and he can’t get her out of his head.

It’s not all bad though.  HelHelping Peter out is a kind hotel employee named Rachel Jansen (Kunis).  She too is coming off a bad break-up and she starts spending time with Peter to make him feel better.  They go out for drinks and to a relaxing beach party.  Is something developing between them?  Peter isn’t quite sure.

In a lot of ways, this film reminded me of There’s Something About Mary.  The leading character is a vulnerable male and there are quite a few gross-out moments that will catch you off guard.  Within the first few minutes, you’ll see why the movie received an MA rating in Australia.  I liked the edginess and the way in which certain scenes (such as the sex between with the newly wed couple) are thrown in with utter randomness.  You don’t know what to expect next.

Backed with some memorable supporting characters, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a likeable film that deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.