Sunday, April 20, 2008


You sound like you're from London!FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL is the latest romantic-comedy to bear the thumb-print of Judd Apatow (KNOCKED UP, THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN). In true Apatow-style, a geek is dumped by his gorgeous girlfriend. He goes on holiday to forget her, only to land up in the same hotel as her and her ludicrous new boyfriend, a Brit rocker played by Russell Brand. Despite Judd Apatow's involvement, this movie is basically a debutante effort, from director Nicholas Stoller and writer-lead actor Jason Segel. So, let's check out what Al, our Asia-Pac correspondent, makes of it all.....

As screenwriter, Jason Segel's idea of a story is to basically make it as complicated as possible. There's hardly a moment in the story anyone pauses to genuinely think: they're all swaggering around in this giant move-about because something new happens every five minutes. A whole lot of noise: not much meaning.

It's not all bad. Some of the jokes worked, but for every one of those you had 20 stinker gags seriously testing an already bored and quiet audience. You get a heap of low ones like "You sound like the women on Rock of Love-"I'll KILL YOU"-jokes like these seriously question whether there were any standards when it came to writing jokes for the film. The best jokes were no doubt the small ones-slipped into conversations and having little to do with anything. When Segel aims big or tries to pull off situational comedy, I couldn't help flinching, thinking that maybe I had inadvertently walked into a bad Ben Stiller film.

Most of the characters are self-absorbed and obnoxious loudmouths. Jonah Hill & Jack McBrayer (who plays Kenneth in 30 Rock) gave bewilderingly humorless performances and were painful to watch. Plus it didn't look like they were enjoying themselves either. Kristen Bell (who played Veronica Mars brilliantly throughout its 3-season run) is totally devoid of sex appeal in this supposedly sexual role,and is frustratingly whiny and tool-like (appearing right when Segel seems to have come to terms with the break-up, just to inspire another "hilarious" love run-around. Jason Segel himself seems determined to thoroughly humiliate himself for humor, constantly doing dumb things to get the story going (often into new territory). The only characters inspiring real laughs were Paul Rudd's light-headed surfer and Russell Brand's pompous Brit rocker who were both consistently funny and entertaining.

With the amount of comedy talent attached, FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL should've come out soaring, but the script's limp brand of humor was a damning curse - often immature and just plain unfunny. Also,the way the film goes bulldozing past things and never once considers developing on anything (that past 90 minutes, so many things have happened but it feels like story hasn't taken off). With a loose sense of purpose and no set of bearings, it falls way off the mark and doesn't come close to the ranks of Judd Appatow's previous efforts.

FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL was released this weekend in Australia, Iceland and the USA. It opens next weekend in Hungary, Russia, Estonia and the UK. It opens in May in Norway and Sweden; in June in France, Italy, Belgium, Germany and Spain; in July in the Netherlands, Denmark and Singapore; in August in Turkey and Mexico and in Argentina in September.


  1. The only time I laughed during FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL was when Russell Brand was on screen. The guy is Pure Comedy Gold. The rest of this over-long rom-com is uneven, under-written and just plain weak. I'm tired of seeing these thinly veiled revenge fantasies. Sarah Marshall dumps her immature, insensitive, unambitious boyfriend after trying her best for 5 years. And we're meant to sympathise with him? Even when he gets together with another chick he does sth truly weak. One day, one day, Judd Apatow will have a hand in a movie that treats women well. This film isn't it.

  2. Word.

    I was utterly surprised to see this movie get 8 stars on IMDB. The only point where I disagree with Al's review is on Paul Rudd's performance. IMHO Mr. Rudd's performance was atrocious. And I'm a fan of his.

    P.S. Bina, I adore your movie reviews! I have watched some of the films you've given good marks to and I have to say I agree with you completely.

    Keep up the great work!

    Dallas, Texas

  3. Hi Alma, I'm glad you've enjoyed the reviews! I'm also a big fan of Rudd and also thought he was weak in this movie.....Shame reslly, but at least all the non-Brits got to see how insane Russell Brand is!