Monday, April 21, 2008

Review - Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Oh, that Judd Apatow! He and his legions of comedy are at it again, with this raunchy side-splitter about lost love, crying a river, building a bridge, and getting over it (so to speak).

Our pathetic hero, Peter Bretter (played adorably by co-writer Jason Segel), has just suffered a major blow to the heart by his now-ex-girlfriend Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), a TV starlet who gives poor Peter the shaft in favour of British rocker Aldous Snow (a pitch-perfect Russell Brand). To ease his ailing heart, Peter escapes to the romantic shores Hawaii, only to have the cruel memory of what he lost follow him there, as Sarah and Aldous have come to the same resort on vacation.

Director Nicholos Stoller takes the wheel of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but doesn't steer too stringently. This is both a strength and a flaw of the film. Yes, the cast is given a great deal of creative freedom over their performances, resulting in a lot of fun and authentic screen chemistry. On the other hand, the movie could have been better served by direction that knows when to say “when”, as some of the gags play on too long.

But its triumphs and failures as a comedy aside, Forgetting Sarah Marshall lets us peer into some very private, yet very real human emotions (not to mention human body parts). We naturally gravitate towards Segel's character because he's not out for sex, but out for love. And he just may find it in the form of a resort employee (Mila Kunis). Naturally, we're rooting for him, though laughing at him, the whole way.

Even though the Academy will probably be as receptive to this movie as they have to other Apatow gems (in lamens terms, “NO OSCAR FOR YOU!”), that shouldn't deter anyone who isn't afraid of full-frontal male nudity from enjoying this fresh and funny prelude to the summer movie season.

*** out of ****

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