April 13, 2008 by  

Forgetting Sarah Marshall


Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Jason Segel and Kristen Bell in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."

Starring: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller (debut)
Written by: Jason Segel (debut)

When it comes to riding the coattails of a friend in the film industry things can go as badly as watching Adam Sandler continue to dish out subpar movies for his buddies Rob Schneider, Allen Covert, and David Spade to star in under his Happy Madison production company or they can go as fairly well for others like Greg Mottola, Seth Rogan, and Jake Kasdan. They are only three of a handful of director Judd Apatow’s friends whom he has graced with the opportunity to earn directing and writing credits in films he finances. Sometimes the project works (“Superbad”). Other times, not so well (“Drillbit Taylor”).

In the most recent of Apatow’s work as a producer, he gets courageous again by handing over the reigns for the comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” to first time director Nicholas Stoller and first time screenwriter Jason Segel, who also stars in the film. It’s a hit and miss first attempt where the peeks in humor will have you laughing out loud and the valleys leaving you wondering why the film feels so bipolar.

After getting dumped by his famous TV actress girlfriend Sarah (Kristen Bell), TV show composer Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) takes some advice and drags his broken heart to Hawaii for a much-needed getaway. A trip to an island paradise, however, isn’t going to turn out as Peter expected since Sarah and her new rock star boyfriend Aldous (Russell Brand) have also decided to travel to the same location. Deciding to stay the course and test his emotional strength, Peter ends up meeting Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis), a possible new love interest who could take his mind off of his devil-of-an-ex.

Like with all other Apatow productions, when the humor flows out naturally from the characters the film is at its most sincere and entertaining. Although it takes a while to get Segel’s character out of his self-pitying rut, once he realizes he has something to offer to the opposite sex, the film takes some interesting twists in familiar territory.

Not everything Apatow touches turns to gold, but with Stoller and Segel’s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” there is enough refreshing material and awkward deadpan to call it enjoyable.

Grade: B

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