MONKEY REVIEW: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

May 4, 2008

Richard Roeper admitted recently on At The Movies With Ebert And Roeper that he’d taken some heat for declaring Forgetting Sarah Marshall, directed by Nicholas Stoller and written by and starring Jason Segal, “an instant classic” and one of the funniest movies ever made. Having seen it now, I’m not sure I’d be willing to go that far, but it is very funny, and I’d be willing to say it’s definitely one of the funniest movies of the last decade. The plot is a familiar one: Peter, a music composer (Segal) is dumped by his girlfriend Sarah (Kristen Bell), who is also the star of the crime show for which he writes. After failing miserably to get over her, he decides to leave Los Angeles and vacation in Hawaii, only to run into his ex, who is there with her new rock star boyfriend Aldous (Russell Brand). Fortunately, Peter is befriended by Rachel (Mila Kunis), a hotel employee who takes a shine to him. Like all romantic comedies, which this essentially is, there’s a lot of wish fulfillment going on here, as Peter is talented, but also a bit of a average Joe and definitely a slob, yet manages to attract a TV star like Sarah, as well as Rachel, played by Kunis at her most beautiful and appealing. Segal’s character, however, is fortunately sufficiently fleshed out that you understand what attracted both Sarah and Rachel to him, but also why Sarah eventually decided to leave him. It’s not really the sort of depth one associates with this genre, and it’s part of why it’s worth seeing. The main reason to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall is that it’s funny from beginning to end. (It’s also somewhat notorious for its willingness to show full frontal male nudity for a couple seconds at a time, but that notoriety speaks more to the absurd conservatism afflicting our country than the movie’s daring.) The movie’s dialogue is full of quotable one liners, the lead actors are all skilled comic actors, and the supporting cast, which includes Bill Hader, Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill and even Jason Bateman in a brief cameo, is top notch. One of the funniest movies of all time? I don’t know, but definitely a very funny movie.

MONKEY RATING: ONE MONKEY

(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)

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