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Overall Rating

Awesome: 33.33%
Worth A Look43.86%
Average: 5.26%
Pretty Bad: 1.75%
Total Crap: 15.79%

5 reviews, 27 user ratings

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall
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by brianorndorf

"Despondency has never been this hilarious"
5 stars

For some, the Apatowing of American comedy has perhaps lost its luster through repetition. For others (and this would be me), the unwashed comedic sensibility of the Apatow family is a godsend, and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is another barnstorming success, flush with peculiar performances, a frothy stream of vulgarity, and a universal tale of brokenhearted loathing that’s sure to make it the finest awkward date movie of the year.

A television composer, Peter (Jason Segel) is happily dating small-screen superstar Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). When she leaves him for rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), Peter is torn apart, lost without the comfort of his girlfriend. Trying to clear his senses and find his center, Peter takes a trip to Hawaii, only to find Sarah and Aldous on vacation at the same resort. Now even more miserable, Peter finds peaceful energy with fetching hotel employee Rachel (Mila Kunis), which leaves Sarah in a jealous rage, soon questioning her own slapdash relationship.

Truthfully, Judd Apatow only produces “Sarah Marshall.” However, the man’s fingerprints are all over the material, written by Segel and directed by Nicholas Stoller, executed in the same freewheeling, semi-improvisational format that informed “40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.”

The beauty of “Forgetting” has to be that it’s a decidedly angry film about relationships that strives to misdirect the audience into thinking it could be something more saccharine and cutesy. Granted, the film eventually wields cupid’s arrow, but the rest of the picture is a supremely toxic expression of breakup rage and hatred for the ex. Credit Segel’s disarmingly feral screenplay, which has a blast toying with audience expectations while picking away at some genuine moments of disgust and self-loathing. The laughs here are quickly chased by sympathetic stomach cramps.

As with other Apatow-approved endeavors, casting is the key. The ensemble here is terrific and startling, especially Kunis, who after spending nearly a decade on the shrill “That 70’s Show,” reveals a newly freshened allure as Peter’s rebound girl, who also happens to be the best antidote for him in his time of need. Kunis is funny and utterly lovable, and holds her own against Segel, who obviously caters the screenplay to his strengths of punching-bag straight man comedy and bursts of full-frontal nudity. Brand and Bell make for fun adversaries, though both take some time to warm up to the speed of the material.

It also wouldn’t be a party without plenty of guests, and appearances by Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Carla Gallo, and Paul Rudd as a sun-baked surf instructor add their special sauce to the mix. Even William Baldwin pops up as the co-star on Sarah’s awful “C.S.I.” rip-off crime show, channeling reptilian Carusoesque pausing like a heavyweight champ.

Segel’s gift is making weird situations bleed into the uncomfortable, and “Forgetting” is ripe with sequences that dive off the deep end of absurdity, yet still remain a plausible gas. Peter’s ambition to write a rock opera about Dracula (performed by puppets) is a perfect example of how Segel boldly walks this thin line throughout the picture, yet his comfort with ludicrousness is where the film is most confident and uproarious. It’s a corrosive feature, with Peter slowing coming to the realization that Sarah is Satan incarnate, and the material rides that perfect razor’s edge between humanity and throat-slicing comedy, never pausing for comfort.

“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is non-stop laughs in both the obvious and the sneaky material stuffed into the corners of the film. It’s a firecracker of a picture, paying tribute to stomped hearts everywhere, not to mention throwing valentines toward the Muppets, luscious Hawaii, and the comedic value of the penis.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 04/18/08 16:45:57
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2008 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/01/20 The girl with the draggin' sanfu Almost as disgusting as Joe Biden's promise to magically cure COVID-19 1 stars
12/29/17 morris campbell funny but 2 long is that peter north the porn star 4 stars
1/10/11 fartvenugen How does one forget Forgetting Sarah Marshall? Garbage. 1 stars
2/24/10 Peter North this movie was hilarious....and I want to be inside Mila's Kunis..... 5 stars
2/18/10 Monday Morning Very unfunny, especially Jason Segel's dick, which was totally uncalled for. And small. 2 stars
6/16/09 art OUTRAGEOUS! 4 stars
4/11/09 John Aster Jason Segal plays his usual sweet nice guy and despite crude humor a really sweet movie 5 stars
2/27/09 MP Bartley Very funny in spots with great supporting performances across the board. 4 stars
1/12/09 mr.mike Goes on a bit too long , otherwise good. 4 stars
1/08/09 Shaun Wallner Hilarious Movie! 4 stars
10/11/08 Annie G Not too bad when you just need a decent comedy. Hawaii is gorgeous as usual! 3 stars
10/05/08 Fenstwhip Shiggins We'd be so much better never having learned of Sarah Marshall, so nothing of her to forget. 1 stars
10/02/08 Charles Tatum Laughs here and there, but no comedy classic 3 stars
9/18/08 The Velcro Warlock Ugh, an unrated version advertised just when I thought I'd be forgetting Forgetting Sarah M 1 stars
9/05/08 Little Pissed Sunshine Yes, a non-farcical movie needs likeable characters;this has none (nor succeeds as farce). 1 stars
8/22/08 Kristin Bellfree So right, Jenny and Ashley. Never wanna meet paul shortt or harpy who's pulling his strings 1 stars
7/17/08 Jenny Tullwartz A should've waited for DVD so can FF thru agony to see HOW bad a pisser ending! 1 stars
7/17/08 Ashley Corpening Sarah and Rachel are BOTH unlikeable, and Aldous is nothing but a caricature! 1 stars
7/14/08 Private Found this to be overrated. Cast was willing but execution and script was largely flat. 3 stars
7/05/08 Samantha Pruitt Superbad was better, but this is still pretty funny! 5 stars
6/02/08 George Barksdale Funny, had a good time. 4 stars
5/27/08 g awesome 5 stars
5/14/08 Simon Hilarious of course, but spotty seriousness, Apatow= scatterbrained; Kunis sure is gorgeous 4 stars
4/30/08 J Extremely funny. 5 stars
4/26/08 Teresa Goodwin This was absolutely hilarious, a must see! 5 stars
4/26/08 Dale it was very funny 5 stars
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  18-Apr-2008 (R)
  DVD: 30-Sep-2008


  DVD: 30-Sep-2008

Directed by
  Nick Stoller

Written by
  Jason Segel
  Judd Apatow

  Jason Segel
  Kristen Bell
  Mila Kunis
  Russell Brand
  Paul Rudd
  Jonah Hill
  Bill Hader
  Jack McBrayer

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