Review: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

The work of Judd Apatow will be celebrated when most of the world is long dead and gone. The man knows how to put good movies on the big screen whether or not he writes, directs, produces, it doesn’t seem to matter as everything his name graces turns to gold. Current darling Forgetting Sarah Marshall, written and starring long-time Apatow actor Jason Segel, ups the ante once again and further solidifies the formula for a guy’s romantic comedy, this one just so happens to be a relationship disaster of epic proportions.

Peter Bretter (Segel) is dating Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) a hot, blonde TV starlet starring in one of the best lampoons of CSI: Miami ever put on film. After eating a mixing bowl full of Froot Loops, Sarah breaks the bad news to a heart-broken and naked Peter, she’s leaving him and his Dracula musical. Peter begins to break down after a not so successful pep talk with his step-brother (Bill Hader), and decides to take a vacation to Hawaii and get away from it all.


Once in Hawaii Peter meets Rachel (Mila Kunis) and accidentally bumps into Sarah and new boy-toy Aldous (Russell Brand) on holiday as well. As you can guess, the next 90 minutes are filled with well timed jokes, visual cues, awkward moments, and just about everything else you’d expect from an Apatow production including the touching moments as well.

While the storyline itself isn’t anything revolutionary or new, it’s a simple break up story, but there are so many layers to each of the characters that you actually feel bad for Peter to the point where, near the film’s climax, when he has the opportunity to get Sarah back, and acts on his wishes, the entire theater erupted in displeasure. That’s the kind of involvement director’s dream of, and first-time director Nicholas Stoller and Segel’s script really bring out the audience’s emotions.


Like Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin, it’s the characters that really make this film what it is, the romantic connections do nothing if you don’t care for each person involved. Yet, the film also needs to be funny, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall will have you splitting many times throughout with some very memorable gags, and some great, unexpected lines that had me rolling, even when the rest of the audience had stopped laughing long ago. Many Apatow-alumni show up including Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, and Segel himself being a veteran of Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared.

However nearly stealing the show is 30 Rock co-star Jack McBrayer as newlywed Darald who has to please his wife and consummate the relationship. A montage near the end of the second act, with him receiving advice from rocker Aldous, is hilarious beyond all bounds, and the results we’re treated to later didn’t leave a single person not laughing hysterically.


Much has been said about the film, whether it’s the full frontal male nudity, or the fact it seems to be the perfect romantic comedy geared for guys, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is easily the best film of 2008 so far and hopefully Oscar voters are paying attention and don’t forget to nominate the little guy.

Written by Erich Becker
Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!