Hey Lucky babies, MG here. I’m thrilled to announce a first on our site.
Our Fabulous music commentator, Ms. Jane O’Donnell, has consented to
turn her eyes to the silver screen on the Temple’s behalf. Jane blesses
us with her charm, wit, and wisdom of her thoughts about Forgetting
Sarah Marshall. Kill the people, Jane!
assignment worried me. Review "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"? But what if I
can't be impartial? Even if it's terrible, I might love it. See, I'm a
longtime Jason Segel fan, thanks to "Freaks and Geeks." To me, Segel
will always be Nick, and he'll always be wonderful. Besides the
possibility that my review could be too Segel-friendly, I had another
concern. What if "Sarah Marshall" made it tough to continue to love
"Nick"? I was pre-warned to expect full-frontal nudity. Did that mean
the movie was going to be totally gross? Too mean? Just plain unfunny?
Thankfully, the answer to all was a resounding "Heck no." Within seconds
of the opening, my fears were silenced. Within minutes, I was sold. By
the time the hour-and-a-half or so expired, I had a movie I couldn't
wait to see again. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is funny. Really, truly,
excitingly laugh-out-loud funny. And it's warm, sweet and honest about
love, sex and relationships. I couldn't wait to tell everyone I know to
go see it. I've done that, so now I will tell you.
Jason Segel wrote the movie, so he only has himself to thank/blame for
the naked breakup scene (Based on fact, according to Jason. Stranger
than fiction, that). But he's laid bare in more ways than the obvious in
the movie. Peter isn't a winner. He's devastated by the breakup, sure,
but he's clearly a mess before that. Segel doesn't make Peter some dream
guy just because he can. And best of all, he doesn't make everyone else
a villain to make Peter a hero - or attractive to Mila Kunis' Rachel, a
prematurely world-weary hotel employee who goes the extra mile to ensure
that Peter has as good a time as possible on his breakup vacation.
The ads will have you believe that there's a bad guy (Well, they will
if, like me, you read the poster as "You Do Look Fat in Those Jeans
[signed] Sarah Marshall" ... I recently realized that I was making the
"signed" part up. The lack of punctuation leaves us wondering what it
all means.) But Sarah Marshall probably doesn't think you look fat
in those jeans, and even if she did, she wouldn't tell you on a
billboard - because who would?
But enough about the ad-campaign Sarah Marshall. What about the REAL (Well,
movie-real) Sarah Marshall, the TV actress who just up and dumps
Peter for a sleazy rock star? She makes some mistakes, but she's no evil
witch. And her new boyfriend, Aldous Snow (Played by Russell Brand,
who steals every scene and heart ... but more on that later)? He has
some hysterically awful customs (and songs), but he's not a bad
guy by any means. He's an absolute delight. I can't imagine leaving the
theater without a wish that you could hang out with him, in or out of
The laughs are plenty, and totally for grownups - not "This is
hilarous to a 15-year-old" R-rated stuff, we're talking actual
grownups. This is probably the most sophisticated (and I use that
term loosely) of Apatow's productions. The plot is believable - once
you get past the "of all the places in the world"/"fancy meeting you
here" conceit. TV score musician loses his girl to an actual rock star,
takes a big trip in an effort to have fun without her, runs into the new
couple at the same hotel ...
Oh no, is this a " 'Meet the Parents'-style humiliation-for-yuks"
fest? No. Hold on.
While he's in Hawaii, Peter meets Rachel, a lovely and understanding
concierge who tries her hardest to help him have a good time despite the
constant presence of Sarah and Aldous. And, well, hilarity ensues.
There's crying! There's kissing! There's surfing! There's fighting!
There's even more nudity and uncomfortable sexual situations! There's a
How do we get from surfing the Pacific to a Dracula musical? With a lot
of finesse, my friends. This would be a fiasco in the hands of many
others, so let's stop for a moment and congratulate first-time director
Nicholas Stoller. The tone is perfect throughout, the movie keeps a
steady pace, and a couple of opportunities to get off track for an easy
laugh (Watch the double-date dinner scene toward the end and see
where it doesn't go and you'll know what I mean) are mercifully
avoided. Nice one, man!
Plus the acting is great. Segel is perfect in the role, which makes
sense since it's apparently some amalgam of all his breakup stories. But
instead of hogging all the best material for himself, he gives both Bill
Hader (as his advice-offering stepbrother) and Russell Brand (The
Other Man) the opportunity to run away with the whole thing. They
don't (Brand comes closest. And his Infant Sorrow songs aren't even
his best parts!), but they certainly make every moment they are on
screen a great one. We already knew that Mila Kunis is beautiful. We
didn't know that she had it in her to shine bright as a smart, sensitive
and winning lead. Kristen Bell strikes the right notes, and as an
actress playing an actress, she sucks up some truly inspired real-life
Then there's Peter's trio of vacation confidantes: "30 Rock" star Jack
McBrayer as a gun-shy newlywed (imagine Kenneth on his honeymoon),
Da'Vone McDonald as the bartending realist Dwayne, and Taylor Wily as
towering voice of reason Kemo. Also along for the ride are Apatow
favorites Paul Rudd and Jonah Hill, who will remind you who the money
man is behind this operation while adding just the right shade of weird
with their beyond-bizarre supporting characters.
But make no mistake, this is really Stoller and Segel's baby, and it's
one to be very proud of. It's funnier, smarter and more well-adjusted
than any of Apatow's other big-screen accomplishments - yeah, we're
saying it - even "The 40-Year-Old Virgin."
~ Jane O’Donnell
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