Jason Segel has shown through various TV and film roles to be more than competent as a humorous sidekick or secondary character. After viewing the new semi-romantic and very funny comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which was written by and stars Jason Segel, a few things are clear. First, multiple full frontal nude scenes show that Jason is definitely very comfortable with his body. More importantly, Forgetting Sarah Marshall proves that Mr. Segel is capable of being a successful leading man and penning an above average comedy script.
In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Peter Bretter (played by Jason) has the life that every goofy and unmotivated teenage boy must dream about. Peter’s job is writing music for a CSI inspired TV show, which gives Peter plenty of time to do nothing but just lie around his home in his favorite pair of sweatpants and eat pounds of cereal. Peter is even dating the star of the show, the beautiful blonde bombshell Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). However, Peter is soon surprised by Sarah as he is getting out of the shower and is told that she will no longer be needing his boyfriend services. Peter does not take the news well as his slacker paradise has been destroyed. Now, even an old episode of Project Runway brings him to tears. Peter’s stepbrother Brian (Bill Hader) does his best to console him, but continuously fails in his attempts to cheer Peter up. Bill and Jason have solid chemistry; both men are able to equally work their scenes for laughs, and neither funny guy outshines the other. Eventually, Brian tells Peter to take a vacation to get away from Sarah’s memories, and Peter desperate to move on with his life agrees.
Wouldn’t it be nice if Peter’s vacation went smoothly and gave him the proper venue to heal his emotional wounds quietly? Yes, it would be nice but not funny, and fortunately for the audience that is not what happens. Soon, Peter discovers that Sarah is staying at the same hotel, but she is not alone, she is with her new boyfriend the British rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). What could be worse than a “sexy” rockstar dating your very recent ex-girlfriend? The correct answer would be sleeping in the same building as them, causing you to constantly run into and one occasion even have dinner with the new couple. There is must be nothing like having dinner with your ex and the guy that is currently violating your once sacred forest of love. Peter’s pain is the audience’s joy, as these incredibly awkward situations generate many laughs.
Don’t worry though, Peter’s resort just happens to be employed by the seemingly sweet and incredibly desirable, Rachel (Mila Kunis). However, Rachel is surprisingly not the same stereotypical girl you have seen in so many romantic comedies. When Rachel sees her ex-boyfriend she shouts profanities and gets in his face, she even has a topless picture of her in a bathroom at a local bar. Rachel is actually a real woman, with a painful past and a temper, not some bland movie girl that has waited her whole life to fix the damaged leading man. This character is incredibly refreshing, which is something you don’t get to say a lot when it comes to romantic comedies. Of course, Rachel does help Peter get over Sarah before something predictably comes in the way of the very new relationship, but don’t worry romantic comedies are known for their happy endings, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall is no exception. As you can see, the film does have a few standard plot devices, but this is definitely not a fatal flaw.
All the actors regardless of the size of their part turn in great performances in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Jack McBrayer as a newlywed who is having bedroom troubles with his new wife is hysterical in the most clueless way. Mr. McBrayer even has one of the film’s most quotable lines in “God put our mouths on our heads for a reason”. Apatow regular Jonah Hill proves he has not lost his comedic sensibility as a restaurant host who is obsessed with Aldous Snow.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of those great examples of a film that is funny from start to finish. From Peter’s dark times at the start of the film, to the reuniting of Peter and Rachel at the end, there are not many dull moments, just scenes that range from fairly to very humorous.
At 112 minutes, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is about 20 minutes longer than most of the other films found in its genre. However, due to a consistently funny script and the talent of the film’s actors, Forgetting Sarah Marshall never really feels like a chore, as it keeps you laughing all the way to the somewhat predictable conclusion.