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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Judd Apatow's new comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall might not be the film some hoped for, but it's still worth your time. For me, The 40 Year Old Virgin is the standard of Apatow comedies. Knocked Up is next. Then, there's Superbad. After that, it's a question of what is your taste?  I put Sarah Marshall in the same pool as films such as Anchorman.

Believe me, Sarah Marshall will make you laugh. It has its jokes and they are well executed. The issue comes in of how much different is this than some of the previous comedies from the Apatow clan? I almost felt like this film lacked the heart of Virgin and Knocked Up. Yes, there was the full frontal "comedy". And yes, it featured a Dracula rock opera.  Still, it left me wanting more.

Some things just didn't work for me. The fact that Jason Segel just decides to go to Hawaii and bump into his ex-girlfriend and her new lover just didn't work for me. I know it's a comedy, but that still doesn't give you a free pass on telling a story. It fell into place way too easy. Especially after he meets an extremely attractive hotel attendant.
Jason Segel was great and I have been a fan of his since Freaks and Geeks. Hell, he's even great on How I Met Your Mother even though people never watch that show. You have to give him credit for writing the script and starring in the film. This was his chance to shine and I think people will really start to realize that he is talented. I hope that he is given a chance to be a lead more often.

The supporting cast of Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, and Russell Brand do their job. I thought they were effective in their respective roles. Bell really makes you realize why no one would want to forget her (damn, she's cute in this film). As for Brand, I'm not sure what his future holds, but I liked him in this role. There was just something about him from his delivery to his mannerisms. As for Kunis, I didn't even recognize her with her tan. I knew that was her voice, but she looks different from her days in That 70s Show. I was actually a little annoyed by Paul Rudd and Jonah Hill in this film. I found their roles to be literally useless besides inserting a couple jokes here and there. They have been much better used in previous Apatow films.

When it's all set and done, I did enjoy the film. I thought it was worth seeing and if you like the previous work of this collection of talent, then you should definitely check it out. My only warning is don't expect the same level as Knocked Up and Superbad from last year.


Fletch said...

I'm not sure I agree, at least in terms of comparisons to early Apatow productions. I think had Superbad or Knocked Up or FSM come before the 40YOV, we might love those most.

I do think 40YOV is the funniest in the group, but if you think about it, a) there really isn't much to the story and b) it's a "high concept" comedy (as is Knocked Up, really), where FSM stemmed from tru-life experiences and the dialogue feels real, even if some of the circumstances don't.

Not sure where it fits into my rankings just yet...

Mikey Filmmaker said...

Points taken, I just wasn't blown away by Sarah Marshall as I was with Virgin or Knocked Up. The true test will come with multiple viewings and see if I still laugh. That's the measuring stick for comedies for me. Only time will tell.