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Movie Reviews

Forgetting Sarah Marshall



Released: April 25th 2008 (UK)

Director:Nicholas Stoller

Stars: Jason Segel, Kirsten Bell,Russell Brand

Certificate: 15 (UK)

Reviewer: Richard O Toole

After ten years in the business Jason Segel decided to put pen to paper and write his own film, casting himself to play the protagonist. Without watching the trailer the plot is (sort of) given away in the opening few minutes. Segel’s character, Peter Bretter, is introduced with his long-term girlfriend, Hollywood actress Sarah Marshall (Kirsten Bell) on a television show called Access Hollywood. The show ends with a segment focusing on flirtatious rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) who is lead singer of a seemingly popular band, Infant Sorrow. No surprises on what’s going to happen.

Inevitably the title gives the key focus away. Bretter is trying to forget about Sarah Marshall, who has been having a hidden romance with Snow for some time. Marshall finally decides to tell Bretter, who is distraught over the news. Lost and alone Bretter begins to break down, burning photos of Marshall, having lots of rebound-sex (crying whilst doing so) and generally becoming very emo. He decides to get away from everything and go on a holiday break to Hawaii, unfortunately for him, so has Marshall and Snow. Whilst avoiding the happy couple, he falls for the hotel receptionist, Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis) and thus begins another storyline.

Although the story seems like it is going to be unoriginal and obvious, there’s just something about Forgetting Sarah Marshall that makes it unique. It could possibly be the cast, that isn’t short brilliance, with big comedy stars such as Paul Rudd, Paul Hader and Jonah Hill all giving hilarious performances. Bell plays her freaky-obsessive-controlling character perfectly and Kunis gives a mystically-tender performance. Yet it’s Russell Brand who made the biggest impression – the comedian had always looked like a sex-crazed rock star and he finally got to play one, often ad-libbing his lines.

Apart from several continuity errors, the film really can’t be faulted. Especially considering this was a directorial debut for Nicholas Stoller. The film was free flowing and although it wasn’t shot extravagantly, some of the colours used in night and day time Hawaii scenes were beautiful.

The film could be seen as a way for Segel to showcase his numerous talents: comedic, musically gifted, a puppeteer and willing to do nude scenes (all of which no doubt helped him score The Muppets gig, well, maybe not the nudity). Truthfully, Forgetting Sarah Marshall was a breath of fresh air. The story of heartache was easy to relate to and even though the idea was depressing, who doesn’t find it enjoyable watching a grown man cry …whilst naked?

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