Starring: Kristen Bell, Jason Segel, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Produced by: Universal Pictures, Apatow Productions
“You lose some. You get some.”
There is no way to sell this movie.
I first heard about this film from a former student who tried to explain it to me. “It’s about a guy who gets dumped and then ends up in Hawaii with the ex-girlfriend, but it’s the best movie ever. There’s also a Dracula musical.” He paused and looked like he was recalling a fond memory. “You need to watch it.” For years that’s all I heard. Something along the lines of, “I can’t explain it; you just have to watch it.” Admittedly, I put it off for years thinking it was just another dumb comedy film. I was wrong.
To be honest, I don’t remember the first time I saw this Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I just remember thinking I had put it off for far too long. The plot that had been previously described to me was mostly correct. Jason Segel (The Muppets, I Love You, Man) plays Peter Bretter, a film composer who is dumped in the first few minutes of the movie by his celebrity girlfriend, Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell, Frozen). He decides to take a holiday to get his mind off of her only to find that she and her new boyfriend, rock star Aldous Snow, (Russell Brand, Arthur, Get Him to the Greek) are staying at the same resort. To spite her, Peter decides to stay for the week and ends up befriending much of the staff of the hotel who help him eventually get over her. He even ends up in a strange romantic relationship with the hotel’s receptionist, played by Mila Kunis (Black Swan, Bad Moms).
Even this description doesn’t accurately describe the wonder that is Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The cast of characters is so seemingly random and yet fits so well together. Even the smallest roles have memorable lines and play a big part in Peter’s recovery. So many amazing actors make appearances in this film: Paul Rudd (Ant-Man, I Love You, Man) as a wacked-out surf instructor, Bill Hader (Inside Out, Trainwreck) as Peter’s half-brother who appears only to shout at his life decisions, Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street, Wolf of Wall Street) as a star-struck, unwanted hotel worker, Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) as the creepy yoga instructor, and Jack McBrayer (Wreck-It Ralph, 30 Rock) as a hotel guest who is afraid to have sex with his new wife. It places the strangest people in the strangest situation and makes the audience face the awkwardness head-on, utilizing the actors’ facial expressions and uncomfortable silence and some of the best-placed scenes in the film.
Dealing with a breakup is something most people have experienced, and that helps audiences relate to this ludicrous situation just enough that it creates the perfect story. The plot mostly focuses on Peter through his daily struggles, but fills in some background during his more painful moments by showing his fond memories of him and Sarah together. Without the audience realizing at first, Peter’s flashbacks become less and less fond throughout the film as he recovers from his lost relationship and realizes he is happier without her. It’s details like this that set this movie apart from just another dumb comedy. Its intelligence demands that the audience pay attention to what’s happening, and guarantees you will be picking up new jokes every time you watch.
On top of having a stellar cast and perfectly written dialogue, Segel has written amazing music for this film. Russell Brand is the lead singer of his band Infant Sorrow whose music may seem catchy and mainstream at first listen, but possesses the hilarious lyrics which go hand in hand with Brand’s performance. This is accompanied by Peter’s compositions such as “Peter, You Suck” and the entire Dracula musical which is hinted at throughout and then presented in its entirety at the culmination of the film. With so much going on, the original music is sometimes overlooked, but it adds a brilliantly funny and unique layer to this movie that no other comedies have.
Fool on the Hill:
There is no part of this movie that is bad. From the Skype conversations with his brother, picking up chicks on the rebound, the awkward newlyweds, the trip to the pediatrician, every single tiny scene of this movie is hilarious. In our household, we quote this movie on a daily basis. I watch it several times a year and I have shown it to so many people. If you haven’t seen this movie, and you are looking for something to sit down and truly enjoy, try this film.
While it took me a few minutes into the film, I suddenly found myself laughing loudly at this raunchy rom-com. The humor comes in a perfect mix of quick shot jokes, insults, and awkward situations. A great film for those of us that have ever had a bad break-up and just couldn’t forget our ex. Hats off to the talented cast of this film and particularly to the writer and star of the film, Jason Segel.