Produced by go to comedy guy Judd Apatow and written by lead actor Jason Segel, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a comedy that I was never in much of a rush to see. I vaguely remember it being around in 2008 but it didn’t entice me to the cinema. I’ve since become more familiar with Segel’s films and when someone at work offered to lend me the DVD I thought why not? I’m glad I did borrow it as it’s a remarkable romantic comedy that completely surprised me with its extremely funny script, well drawn characters and endearing storyline.
Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is a fairly successful TV Composer who is in a five year relationship with the actress Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). One day and almost out of the blue Sarah tells Peter that she is ending their relationship and leaves him. Depressed and heartbroken Peter decides to go away for a few days and heads to Hawaii where, yup, you’ve guessed it, Sarah is also staying with her new rock star boyfriend Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). Feeling even more depressed than he was back in L.A, Peter attempts to at least try and forget Sarah and is helped by the hotel staff which includes the attractive concierge Rachel (Mila Kunis).
I honestly didn’t expect to enjoy the film as much as I did as I had never heard much about it, good or bad and had seen the spin-off sequel Get Him to the Greek which was so-so. As soon as the plot takes us to Hawaii you are in no doubt how the film will end but the journey is delightful, witty and sweet. All of the characters are excellent and feel three dimensional. Even side characters such as an almost unrecognisable Paul Rudd as a stoner/surf instructor feel as though they have a back story and could inhabit a film without the central characters. There is an obvious third act falling out and the central conceit of ending up on the same island felt a little too good to be true but overall the plot and especially dialogue is excellent. I didn’t actually realise that Segel also penned the script until the credits but for a debut screenplay it is very assured and has depth. These are traits that have certainly continued in this year’s comedy highlight The Muppets and the unexpectedly good The Five Year Engagement.
I also thought that the cast did a decent job overall too. Segel plays his typical loveable looser character but is very likeable as always and adds awkwardness here. Kristen Bell is fine as the slightly bitchy ex and Russell Brand is very good as, well Russell Brand. The character isn’t really a stretch for him but for a man of limited acting history/ability I thought he was fine and also had a lot of the best and most well delivered lines. It’s no surprise he earned a spin off, even if it wasn’t quite as good as the original. I thought Paul Rudd was excellent hidden under blonde streaks and a sun visor. It took me a few seconds to realise it was him and he is playing against type. Jonah Hill is really funny as the eccentric fan of Aldous Snow. He provides a lot of comic relief in some of the more tense and awkward scenes. I also thought Mila Kunis was very good and her obvious acting ability feels a little above the rest of the cast. Without wanting to sound like a complete perv’, she also looks really hot in this film and will probably be my wife.
Overall Forgetting Sarah Marshall is not a film without flaws but I was solidly entertained for over an hour and a half and didn’t feel bored once. The funny script is littered with interesting characters and it’s the sort of rom com that women wont have to drag their men to see. The puppet show is also worth the price of admission alone as is one of the many highlights.