Length: 112 minutes
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writer: Jason Segel
Starring: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Jason Bateman, William Baldwin, Bill Hader, Maria Thayer, Jack McBrayer, Liz Cackowski, Carla Gallo, Gedde Watanabe
I am aware that actor Jason Segel is a regular cast member on the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” (still haven’t seen it, but my buddy Keith praises it) and that he had a funny supporting role in “Knocked Up”, but to me he will always be Nick Andopolis from the criminally underrated cult classic TV series, “Freaks and Geeks”, which expired way before it’s time. Lucky for Segel, that show was the brain child of current Hollywood comedy king Judd Apatow. His connection to Judd paid off with the “Knocked Up” role and now with “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, produced by Apatow, and starring Segel based on his own screenplay. Of all the recently great Apatow work- including “Knocked Up”, “The 40 Year Old Virgin”, “Superbad”, etc. - “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” actually ends up being the best yet. The mix of heart and semi-vulgar comedy that the Farrelly brothers perfected in “There’s Something About Mary” and then completely lost afterwards, hasn’t worn thin for Apatow. It just keeps getting better and better. Segel stars as Peter Bretter, who when we meet him is on top of the world. He is a musician who scores a popular “CSI” type show that stars his girlfriend- actress Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). In a way, he is kind of like how I imagined his “Freaks and Geeks” character would have grown up to be. His world soon comes crashing down, though, when Sarah shows up (catching him after a shower in one of the movie’s funniest and most revealing scenes) at his apartment and admits that she has met somebody else- a flakey folk singer named Aldous Snow (Russell Bender- absolutely brilliant here). After sulking in his apartment and skipping out on work, he decides to head off to Hawaii to take a vacation and clear his head. Of course, in one of those “only in a movie” coincidences it just so happens Sarah and Aldous are booked at the same exact hotel as him. Lucky for Peter, the cute and fun hotel receptionist Rachel (Mila Kunis in a star making performance) has a crush on him. The movie then pulls a strange turn and instead of having Peter try everything he can to win Sarah back, he actually begins to fall for Rachel and starts to believe that maybe Sarah wasn’t the one after all. Like any other girl in the same scenario, Sarah sees him having fun with another girl and she herself starts to think if she made the right decision. All the Apatow regulars pop up in funny supporting roles- Paul Rudd as a stoner surf instructor who has a heart to heart with Peter one day and then forgets who he is the next; Jonah Hill as a waiter with a man-crush on Aldous; Bill Hader as Peter’s best friend (who’s wife played by “Saturday Night Live” writer Liz Cackowski steals every scene she’s in). Jason Bateman and William Baldwin also have absolutely spot on cameos as actors on the “CSI” shows. Like the best of Apatow’s work- the heart and the humor is so well balanced it’s amazing that the movie is being helmed by a first time director (Nicholas Stoller) and a first time screenwriter (Segel). It’s just one of those perfect comedies that makes you laugh till you cry, makes you care about the characters, and makes you leave the theater still chuckling a few hours later. I guess now would be the perfect time to write some cheesy tagline like “You won’t want to forget ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’! In a fair world that would land me a blurb spot on the DVD cover.