A Tale of Two Marshalls
Here is the thing, Judd Apatow has certainly breathed life into the romantic comedy genre, he's made them edgy and funny, not afraid of making a sex comedy which is risque. And as such I absolutely love what he did with the "40 Year Old Virgin" but part of the reason I loved it so much was the originality of the story. Sadly when it comes to "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" that originality is missing as the storyline of Peter suffering following a break-up and finding himself on holiday at the same hotel as his ex and her new partner feels rather ordinary. The humour is still good and I love the fact that Russell Brand's English accent is sent up something chronic but because the storyline is ordinary "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" didn't light my fire.
Composer Peter (Jason Segel - Knocked Up) has been with TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) for five years but out of the blue she dumps him, leaving him absolutely devastated. After his step-brother suggests he has a holiday Peter heads to Hawaii where he discovers that not only is his ex Sarah on holiday but so is her new boyfriend, sex loving English Rocker Aldous (Russell Brand). With Sarah and Aldous cavorting around in front of him Peter becomes even more depressed till hotel clerk Rachel (Mila Kunis) takes him out and they end up becoming an item making him feel alive again. But when Sarah realises what she is missing out on what will it mean for Peter and Rachel.
What is very obvious is that "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is a movie which is less about the story and more about the abundance of humour. But for me that is an issue as the storyline of a depressed ex finding himself holidaying at the same resort as his former girlfriend is really quite dull. Maybe dull is wrong as it is full of cliche romantic turmoils which are certainly embellished with modern comedy but it is ordinary with there being nothing new about the premise to make it more interesting. In a way those who only care about the laughs won't mind this but for me that sense of originality is missing and it is disappointing.
But what isn't disappointing is the humour and a movie which features Jason Segel bollock naked within the first 10 minutes is certainly pushing things. The humour is what you have come to expect from the group of movies which come under the Apatow umbrella, here Apatow is a producer but his influence is obvious. So what that means is we have plenty of in your face sex gags, along with more in your face gags about being depressed following a break up as well as a whole bucket load of other in your face gags, some which are quite irrelevant. And if the storyline feels a little dull this humour certainly doesn't because pretty much every joke works especially those moments which mock Russell Brand's accent.
What you also get from "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is characters with layers, something you don't expect from your run of the mill romantic comedy. Segel plays Peter as a bit of a sap, a bit of an idiot in the way he acts but he is so likeable because he is so unaware of how Sarah has been unfaithful. As a complete opposite you have Russell Brand who is full on charismatic ego as sex mad Aldous, a character which to be honest plays to Brand's strengths. And it goes on because Kristen Bell as Sarah and Mila Kunis as Rachel have more to their characters than you expect from a rom com. Even the minor roles, those characters which fill the back ground have more of an edge to them than you expect.
What this all boils down to is that "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is a fun movie and for those who enjoy the Apatow brand of sex comedy will revel in all the sexual humour and fun characters. But for me it has one issue and that is that the main premise is not original and it is that lack of original story which ends up making it entertaining but average and not in the same league as the imaginative "40 Year Old Virgin".