Forgetting Sarah Marshall Nicholas Stoller

Forgetting Sarah Marshall Nicholas Stoller
Within the "Judd Apatow Universe,” it seems every average Joe who appeared on his two failed sitcoms — Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared — will now have their shining moment by way of a leading role in an Apatow production (your time is coming, Samm Levine!).

So far it’s worked wonders for Seth Rogen and seems destined to work like a charm for Jason Segel, a much more familiar face due to his role on hit CBS show How I Met Your Mother. But like the multi-talented Rogen, Segel deserves his star turn, as he’s not only taken on the lead role but also the writing for Forgetting Sarah Marshall, his first trip atop the credits.

Segel stars as Peter, a musician who scores popular TV crime drama Crime Scene, a CSI rip-off starring his girlfriend Sarah Marshall (Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell) and Billy Baldwin (as himself). When Sarah arrives home from a long trip she ends it with Peter, sending him into a deep bout of depression heavy on the crying. With support from his stepbrother (SNL’s Bill Hader), Peter plans a trip to Hawaii to wash away his tears — but of course, right there waiting is his recent ex, laying back in the sun with new rock superstar squeeze Aldous Snow (British comedian Russell Brand). However, through a series of erratic events and some kindness from hotel receptionist Rachel (Mila Kunis), Peter tries to forget Sarah Marshall.

Surprisingly, Forgetting usurps the clichéd premise with non-stop plot jumps (the slaughter of a hog is most amusing), bit part asides and Segel’s comedic charm. Everyone will be talking about his manhood as he bares it all not once but twice, and they kind of should, considering the man wrote those moments in himself in pure self-effacing glory. But the movie rightfully belongs to Segel’s comedic timing and ability to balance the sentimental with the vulgar even better than Knocked Up or Superbad.

That said, the laughs are short-changed and the surplus of cameos (30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer, Paul Rudd and Jonah Hill) all feel a little gratuitous, and too much like Apatow was doing them a favour. Shave them off and the film would have been a nice 90 minutes. (I’ve got to admit though, watching Billy Baldwin and Jason Bateman pull a David Caruso is absolutely priceless.)

But on the whole, Forgetting Sarah Marshall ticks all the right boxes and continues the Apatow trend of making heroes out of zeroes. (Universal)