Another month brings another comedy from producer Judd Apatow. His latest production, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” is a hilarious and rude comedy with plenty of heart to spare.”Forgetting Sarah Marshall” tells the story of Peter Bretter (Jason Segel), the score composer for the TV show “Crime Scene”. Peter happens to be dating Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), the star of the show; they are Hollywood’s “it” couple. Things could not be better until Peter is forced to endure one of the most awkward breakups ever put on film.
It seems that Sarah has found a new love interest in gothic rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), the lead singer of the group Infant Sorrow. Peter is devastated by the news and spends the next weeks moping around his apartment and attempting to sabotage his career. Peter’s step brother Brain (Bill Hader) advises him to take a vacation to Hawaii in order to help to get over Sarah.
Things don’t quite work out that way because it turns out Sarah and Aldous have the same plans and in a hilarious and rather unfortunate twist of fate, all three meet in exactly the same resort.
While in Hawaii, Peter meets the resort’s eccentric staff that includes a stoner surf instructor played by Paul Rudd and an obsessive restaurant host played by Jonah Hill.
He also meets a kindred spirit in Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis), who works at the resort’s front desk. Rachel is also getting over a past relationship and the two form an immediate bond. Their new relationship is put to the test as Peter struggles with keeping Sarah in his past.
Moviegoers will remember Jason Segel from his role in “Knocked Up” and here he makes the successful transition from sidekick to leading man, much like Seth Rogen did before him. Also like Rogen, Segel is multitalented as he also wrote “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”
His script is a fast paced and smart look at dealing with a break up. All of his characters are well developed and seem real. Kristen Bell does a decent job here, but the role doesn’t seem to be too much of a stretch for her. In fact, one of the films on Sarah Marshall’s résumé sounds a lot like a bomb from Bell’s past.
Mila Kunis successfully reemerges after spending a few years bouncing between shows on the Cartoon Network.
It’s Russell Brand, however, who steals the show as the egomaniacal rock star. Every scene featuring Brand is better then the one that preceded it. Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill and Bill Hader all do excellent work in their supporting roles. It wouldn’t be a Judd Apatow production without a few surprise cameos and “Sarah Marshall” has more then a few of those as well.
Director Nicholas Stoller handles himself very well throughout his debut film. He worked with Segel previously on the Apatow produced TV comedy “Undeclared.”
Stoller utilizes some clever flashbacks to elicit laughs as well as to show what a character is really thinking of. He also captures the scenic beauty of Hawaii and shows why someone would want to go there to escape their problems.
Like any good Apatow comedy “Sarah Marshall” is infused with a ton of heart, which serves to get the audience invested in the characters.
As Peter and Rachel attempt to work their way through their relationships, the audience can completely relate to them, because everyone has suffered a broken heart at one point or another.
Even though the movie often happily toes the line between sweet natured and gross out comedy, it never fully jumps across it. Just like when the story starts getting a little over the top or the characters start seeming like characters, the movie brings everything back down to reality again.
“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is another one in the win column for the Apatow camp, which have very few losses to their credit so far. Jason Segel makes the jump to leading man stature, as he seems to be following in the foot steps of the great Seth Rogen.
There are big roles in the future for breakout star Russell Brand and knowing Apatow’s ability to recognize and nurture talent, that is almost a guarantee.
“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is a great comedy that, despite its two hour run time, never feels slow or dragged out, a credit to its fine actors and impeccable writer and director.
Colin McGlinchey is a third-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. He can be reached CM646588@wcupa.edu.