Movie Review
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Forgetting Sarah Marshall poster
By Craig Younkin     Published April 19, 2008
US Release: April 18, 2008

Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Jason Segel , Jonah Hill , Paul Rudd , Mila Kunis

R for sexual content, language and some graphic nudity.
Running Time: 120 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $63,002,000
Sex and nudity gags are the movie’s bread and butter, but like Knocked Up and Superbad, the real charm is in the personal journey of the main characters.
Jason Segel is a relatively no-name actor whose biggest role so far has been playing a character on the TV show “How I Met Your Mother.” He’s now managed to write his own screenplay, get it sold, and actually get the lead role on top of all that, even as a no-name. What I’m saying is, it’s damn good to be a friend of Judd Apatow. And so far, nepotism seems to be paying off for everyone. No winging it here, Apatow knows some really funny dudes. Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Steve Carell, and now add Segel to that list with “Forgetting Sarah Marshall," a laugh-out-loud funny movie about breaking up.

He stars as Peter Bretter, a struggling musician whose life is pretty lame, except for the one bright spot of having a gorgeous television star girlfriend, Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). Peter continuously finds himself pushed to the background while she lives the perfect life and still, he puts her up on a pedestal. So he is shocked when she dumps him. He takes it hard and after a terrible time of trying to get back on the horse and an on-the-job nervous breakdown, he decides to take a trip to the Oahu beach resort to clear his head. Only horribly enough, Sarah is also vacationing there with her British-rocker boyfriend (Russell Brand). Just as things look their worst, a resort employee named Rachel (Mila Kunis) takes him out for a good time, leading to a flirtation that tempts him to regain some confidence.

Sex and nudity gags are the movie’s bread and butter (in fact the film starts off with one of the funniest male nude scenes I’ve ever seen) and it takes some really good pot-shots at murder mystery shows, but like “Knocked Up” and “Superbad," the real charm is in the personal journey of the main character(s). A break-up can leave you a sad, pathetic, obsessive shell of a human being and Segel mines the material with a good eye for comedy but also sends Peter on a path toward not only new love, but toward his own self respect. That Peter and Sarah wind up reluctantly together again is another comedic highlight, especially during an awkward dinner scene.

The romance also works. Segel does a nice job of playing emotionally scarred and timid while Kunis counteracts it well with energetic positivity. Not to mention she is still ridiculously hot, as is Kristen Bell, who makes Sarah a little more than just a bitchy overachiever. And Brand is hilarious, not just in the heavy British accent he puts on but also in the laid-back and self-involved way he portrays the character. And Jonah Hill pops up every once and a while as a creepy waiter. He’s a funny guy, I wonder if he has a screenplay in him as well. And Paul Rudd and Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) also add to the movie, Rudd as a stoner-surfer and McBrayer as a sexual prude on his honeymoon.

“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is another Apatow movie about learning how to grow up and deal with life’s curve balls, and oddly enough, there are a lot more crude gags in that process than you might think. What’s interesting and ultimately winning about these movies is how flawlessly they manage to combine the two.
Craig's Grade: B+
Craig's Overall Grading: 340 graded movies
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'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' Articles
  • 'Sarah Marshall' Weekend Outlook
    April 15, 2008    It's opening in the middle of April, which means if it doesn't hit right now, it could still pick up the right word of mouth and play through May and potentially June as well. -- Lee Tistaert
  • Lee's review B
    March 17, 2008    Sarah Marshall is a breath of fresh air in what has been a really boring movie season. -- Lee Tistaert