Sunday, April 20, 2008

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

My friend Teri from the gym RAVED about how this was the best movie she's seen and being that I've enjoyed other Apatow fare (Knocked Up, Superbad) I thought I'd check it out. I was worried about crowds--I hate crowds--so the plan was the early Sunday show at a neighborhood theater that's not known for being overly busy. Who would drag their ass out of bed on a Sunday morning to see the 10 am showing?

Turns out, I was right. Less than half a dozen people in the same theater that I saw Horton Hears a Who in just three weeks ago. You may remember, the theater was pretty much empty then, but what do you know--some hunched over geezer came in after the movie starts and sat down RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!!! And today, with just a handful of people there to see the 10 am show? The very same hunched over geezer comes in 10 minutes late and sits down RIGHT in front of me! I kid you not! What the fuck?!!! This time he didn't leave after 5 minutes--but he didn't appear to be watching the movie either. What kind of moron comes into an almost empty movie theater and sits down right in front of someone?

Anyway, I had high hopes for Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It's got an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and rave reviews all over the place, including my friend Teri. My assessment: It's good but not great, and definitely not nearly as funny as Knocked Up or Superbad. Still, it has a lot going for it--let's run down the list:

1. Jason Segel, who also wrote the script, stars as the lovable man-child loser, Peter. There is an adorable quality to Segel and he out Ferrell's Will Ferrell with his propensity to let it all hang out as it were. He also wrote some of the lyrics to the music featured on the soundtrack and is a decent singer as well.

2. Russell Brand nearly walks away with the entire movie as the campy British rocker, Aldous Snow, that Sarah leaves Peter for. Brand's performance teeters on the edge of over-the-top ridiculous caricature and yet he manages to create a character who is so blatantly honest that we like him.

3. Bill Hader is not nearly as funny as he was as Officer Slater in Superbad, until the end of the movie when he gets to unleash his mad puppeteering skills.

4. The send-ups of the CSI type television series featuring great cameos by William Baldwin and Jason Bateman. Apatow also manages to get a dig in at the expense of NBC, the network that canceled his beloved Freaks and Geeks.

5. The Dracula Rock Opera performed with puppets. Turns out Jason Segel is going to be co-writing a new Muppet movie in the future. Don't even get me started on how much I love the Muppets! I owned Kermit, Cookie Monster, Grover, Animal and the Snuffleupagus when I was young. The Dracula Rock Opera number performed at the end of the film was the best part of the movie. I wish it had been the whole movie. I guess I'll get that wish granted when Segel's Muppet Movie is released.

Kristen Bell manages to bring some depth and pathos to what could have been a one dimensional bitchy character and Mila Kunis is luminous as Peter's new love interest. Perennial Apatow players also pop up in the film--Paul Rudd as a stoner surfer dude and Jonah Hill as waiter / aspiring musician / stalker. And any flick that features an appearance by Steve Landesberg, however brief it might be, is alright in my book.

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