Friday, July 3, 2009

FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL

When this came out last year, a lot of friends recommended it. So did a lot of critics.

The latter seemed to me to be mostly impressed by star Jason Segel's fearlessness in doing the first-act scene that sets up the plot—naked. I had heard so much about that, I think if I saw the movie at the time I would have found it distracting.

But catching it last night on cable, I was able to laugh out loud at a few ways he uses his nudity in the scene to comic effect, but also not be distracted by the seemingly precedent setting boldness of it (actually, if I remember correctly, Richard Gere in AMERICAN GIGOLO was the first male move star to brave full frontal nudity and that was decades ago).

At any rate, I suspect hearing so much about that specific scene and the praise Segel got for it (he's an imposing physical presence because of his height, and not bad looking, but no Richard Gere—I mean he doesn't have that kind of movie star glamour physicality) I might have been disappointed had I seen it when it first came out.

If you missed it too, I highly recommend catching it on cable or DVD. The screenplay was also written by Segel, and it's really well done. It's the same old Hollywood romantic-comedy formula, but the way Segel wrings new twists and turns out of it is pretty original. Several times I found myself anticipating the usual resolution of a particular boy-girl scene and found myself pleasantly surprised to see it go either in a more realistic direction (from my experience in the world the story is set in—Hollywood, TV and stage performers, stardom or proximity to it, career ambitions vs. friendship and/or love, etc.) or an unexpectedly funnier one.

And the cameo appearances by various "stars" in minor roles in this flick make it even more enjoyable, e.g. Paul Rudd as an aging stoned surfer-without-a-clue is hilarious, as is Billy Baldwin as the male lead in a TV crime series. Among the leads Aldous Snow is a standout as an obnoxiously self-centered, but still impossible not to like, Brit rock star, and Jonah Hill does his usual great job, this time as a suck-up-to-the-rock-star, wannabe performer, waiter. The women are pretty perfectly cast too—Kristen Bell as the Sarah of the title and Mila Kunis as the other female lead.

It's a funny movie that was produced by Judd Apatow and has in it many of his usual suspects (Rudd, Hill, etc.) but somehow rarely descends (or more rarely than most of these Apatow flicks) into the obvious and for me often cheap shot land of adolescent boy humor, but remains, mostly, more mature in every sense of the word without sacrificing the laughs.

I laughed out loud several times and went to sleep satisfied I'd gotten my recommended daily dose. I suspect this flick is so good at what it does, it'll become one of those comedies I can watch more than once, way more.

3 comments:

The Kid said...

Mike - I found this on cable recently too, and have re-watched it several times already. Segel is my now one of my favorite actors and I'd watch him in anything. I loved the mix of realistic relationship interactions (we're ready to indict Sarah for all his problems, then she reveals how his depression, "the sweatpants", affected her) and silliness.

Now watch The Promotion on cable. Nice surprises in that one, too.

Julie said...
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strike said...

Forgetting sarah marshall movie is a comedy movie....where Sarah dumps Her boyfriend Peter ..really interesting and amazing movie......i watch Forgetting sarah marshall movie last night....