Deeper into Movies: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

I want to call your attention to four things:

1) Jason Segel, the star and writer of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, is essentially playing a grown-up version of his character from the short-lived series Freaks and Geeks, sad-sack drummer Nick Andopolis. Watch it.

2) After dumping Peter (Segel), hot TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell, the voice of Gossip Girl) goes to Hawaii with her new boyfriend, sex-obsessed rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand as a weird hybrid of Devendra Banhart and Robbie Williams). Miraculously, the entire movie goes by without the appearance of a single paparazzi.

3) Billy Baldwin is totally playing David Caruso in Sarah Marshall’s fake CSI knock-off. [Continue reading…]

4) As the latest entry into the boy-loses-girl rom-com subgenre (The Break-Up, Run Fatboy Run), Forgetting Sarah Marshall unfortunately succumbs to the obligatory post-break-up “dude gets his shit together” montage, in which Peter runs on the treadmill and “finally” pursues his professional dreams. I don’t like the mixed messages sent by this kind of reel: Was the ex-girlfriend holding our hero back as he settled into fat, happy relationship complacency, or is he an unworthy schlub who drove away his lady and needs to improve to be worthy or her? Probably neither. In my experience, vicious break-ups drive dudes to drink and get fatter, not clean up their acts; I understand the point of the break-up-as-wake-up call so Peter can fulfill his potential or whatever, but as we learn in a few flashbacks, he was working toward that before. He and Sarah weren’t a good couple because she’s a Hollywood star on the rise and he’s an average Joe who happens to like staying home — not because he’s a lazy asshole. He doesn’t need to run on the treadmill and wear nicer shirts to signify his renewed joi de vivre. That said, the rest of the movie was pretty honest and balanced, and should probably be praised for not making Marshall — who, honestly, totally fucks Peter over — totally unsympathetic.


On the whole, this is another great, consistently funny film from Apatow & Co., with Segal as a surprisingly strong lead and brilliant supporting work from Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd and 30 Rock‘s Jack McBrayer in a scene-stealing role as a devout Christian on his honeymoon. Mila Kunis is winning as the new (arguably cuter) love interest who helps Peter learn to take chances. If it’s not quite a Superbad-level laugh riot or as original as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, it’s still a heartfelt comedy that’s likely to be one of the year’s best.

Also, the soundtrack is top-notch: I heard The Bird and the Bee and Belle & Sebastian, among others.


Deeper into Movies is a Yo La Tengo song and, in this case, a film review column. Click below for more.