Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Posted on September 30, 2008 at 8:00 am

“How I Met Your Mother’s” Jason Segal wrote and stars in the latest from the Apatow atelier, another raunchy comedy with a tender heart, and once again the story of a childish and helpless man who is perpetually longing for sex and love but inept with women.
Segal plays Peter who is dumped by the title character in the first scene, and who is so devastatingly nonplussed that he stands before her — and us — naked. Yes, record-keepers, while Apatow’s “Walk Hard” gave us what was probably the first mainstream close-up of an anonymous full Monty, this is the watershed moment for the R rating, at least four sightings of the Monty of the main character.
Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) is the star of a successful television series. After the deadly “We have to talk,” she tells Peter there is no one else but it is soon clear that she is now with a self-absorbed rock star named Aldous Snow (British comic Russell Brand). Peter flees to Hawaii to get away from it all only to find that Sarah and Aldous are staying at the same hotel. Peter sobs in the suite given to him by Rachel (Mila Kunis), a beautiful and sympathetic hotel manager, while Sarah and Aldous have a lot of very loud and athletic sex. Peter feels bad. He spends time with Rachel.
There are some very, very funny moments in this film, though many of them come from seeing Peter behave like a blubbering boob. Apatow regulars Paul Rudd (a happily stoned surfing instructor) and Jonah Hill (a hotel restaurant manager and major Aldous Snow fan) are underused, but Bill Heder as Peter’s brother gets in some good moments giving long-distance advice.
I’m getting a little impatient with these clueless boy-man characters, though. It may be funny that Peter (and Seth Rogan in “Knocked Up” and Steve Carell in “40 Year Old Virgin” etc. etc.) do not understand anything about women, but the people who make the movies should at least make it seem that they know a few. The Apatow crew needs to find a way to create a female character as fully-realized and messy as the men. Both Sarah and Rachel are bland and frustratingly inconsistent, behaving and reacting in whatever way Segal thinks will be funniest for Peter to react to at a given moment. It is a shame to write off, almost write out, half of the population and half of the equation in a movie about romantic complications, especially with actresses as lovely and talented as Bell and Kunis.
Segal writes some hilarious lines, and there is a deliriously random and extremely funny detour into vampire musical theater puppetry. But the film’s happiest surprise is Brand, who seems to be in his own movie, which is perfect for the role of the self-absorbed rock star. His reaction to the gift of a shirt is funnier than all four Montys and singing vampire puppets put together.

Parents should know that this film features nudity, including explicit and graphic female and full male nudity, very explicit sexual references and situations, extremely strong language, drinking, including drinking to deal with stress and drunkenness, and drug references. There is also some comic violence.
Families who see this movie should talk about is the best way to deal with a broken heart. What hurt Peter the most and why?
Families who appreciate this movie will also enjoy “40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.”

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Comedy Romance

13 Replies to “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”

  1. This movie was mor pornographic than raunchy, sillier than
    comical, amateurish acting and poorly scripted. Not a mvie
    to see if you want to be entertained (which is why we go to
    the movies). It was the worse movie we have ever seen in a
    long time and the only reason we didn’t get up and walk out
    it because (silly us) we thought it would get better!!!

  2. I can’t believe that movie mom gave this anything higher than a C- or D. I would never let even a mature high schooler see this movie unless I wanted to ensure they become sexually active, run around sleeping with people realizing no consequences and act like asses. It is beyond graphic. I think a porno would be more straightforward and less damaging to an impressionable mind. Not only is the acting mediocre but nowhere does the writer or director guide us to some type of success for any of the characters. One meaningless sexual encounter after another, no consequences for this behavior. Yes they discuss that Aldous has herpes (but it isn’t active right now).PLEEEEESE How about some reality people. Any teen who watches this movie will think the same thing. (I can’t get herpes from my girlfriend if the guy she was screwing has it but it isn’t active). No wonder STD’s are on the rise!!! All this movie does is condone irresponsible behavior. I couldn’t believe the media referred to it as a “romantic comedy”. If a guy refusing a blow job is romantic then yes this is your cup of tea. It is a bunch of lazy 20 somethings with no education, no aspirations, no respect for each other and overactive sex hormones. How many of these movies do we need. This movie is not entertaining it is distressing. !!!

  3. Thanks for your comments, Lee and DisneyFanatic. This is exactly the kind of discussion I hope to have on the site as your reactions will be very helpful to people who want to know if this movie is one they will want to see. I was disappointed in the film for the reasons I explained in my review, though I liked it more than you did. Thanks again and I hope you will return and let me know what you think of the other movies you see.

  4. Before going to the movie I checked Yahoo movies for reviews of this film. I do not recall reading about the “full frontal male nudity”. Not being able to find a “movie mom” review and not knowing about this website, my wife and I and her 13-yr old ventured forth based on the other reviews which were quite favorable.
    Please tell me what movie those weirdos watched. We lasted less than 10-minutes and we headed for the door apologizing all the way to our teen. No humor. Not even a “chuckle”. This film should have been rated “NC-17” at the minimum. Is this the future of movies?

  5. What universe is this reviewer from? Not a normal one that’s for sure. It was a total rape. To advertise this as a “Romantic Comedy” is a lie. It was pornography mixed with nihilism. How sad and shocking to expect something normal in a possible “date movie” and then be hit without warning with an X rated full frontal male nudity over and over. The academy should be hit with thousands of emails decrying moving pornographic content now into an “R” rating. I too stayed way too long hoping it would get better and then after close to an hour gave up and walked out feeling sick. It was an assault to mind and senses.

  6. Thanks for your comments, Fred, and I am sorry you were disappointed. If you read my review before seeing the movie you would have known that it was extremely raunchy and included full male nudity. I’m not sure I agree that it was nilistic, given its conclusion that genuine intimacy and professional fulfillment are a source of satisfaction, but as I write this I appreciate that the essential silliness of the movie may undercut that message. I encourage you to write to Dan Glickman, head of the Motion Picture Association, to express your concerns about the rating. Here is the contact information:
    Office of the Chairman and CEO
    Washington, DC
    1600 Eye St., NW
    Washington, DC 20006
    (202) 293-1966 (main)
    (202) 296-7410 (fax)

  7. I came to this site to get insight into the content of this movie as part of a workplace violation investigation. This is amazing? A movie that displays nudity of any kind should be put in a special part of the movie mom review section with at the very least “Mature Content,” but this movie has “at least four sightings of the Monty of the main character.” The only thing I can applaud about this review is the restraint of the reviewer from using the graphic terms that most porn reviewers use to describe male and female genitalia. These next lines are the kicker for me…
    “Families who see this movie should talk about is the best way to deal with a broken heart. What hurt Peter the most and why?
    Families who appreciate this movie will also enjoy “40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.”
    I am afraid of what other movies families who appreciate this movie will be watching, but I am sure they appreciate the movie mom giving them some pointers…next why not give a list of the best porn shops in each local? This way the whole family can pick out what they would enjoy…what do you think movie mom?
    Comments (6)

  8. Thanks for the comment! I think I can clear up some of your confusion. The reason I use the term “families” and not “children” is that I advise everyone — parents of teenagers as well as parents of children and those who have no children but are making choices for themselves about what to see. I made it as clear as possible with the age recommendation and the description of what is in the movie that it is in no way intended or appropriate for children or indeed for many adults. The “mature content” of the movie is very clearly and frankly described. Families come in all ages — as do movie-goers — and all movies are worth discussing. In this case, in addition to its silly comedy, the movie does have a plot and characters worth thinking about for those who choose to see it.
    The movie is not pornographic according to the dictionary or legal description. It is likely to be of most interest to teenagers and young adults, and for families of these viewers it is worthwhile to have a review that explains more about what they want to see or will be seeing or (once it is on cable and DVD) have seen. If you have any other questions or concerns, just let me know and I will do my best to answer.

  9. Your review of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is right on-My husband and I spent time enjoying (yes!) this film tonight, rented later in the evening on pay per view. Yes, we groaned at the raunchy bits, and we also laughed out loud enjoying the romantic comedy…to the point that, when our laughter drew them in, we had to shoo our older children (still awake) out of the TV room. Your review described the ups and downs of the film itself AND the specifics that earned this movie its R rating.
    This review is a wonderful example of your gift for combining quality film reviewing with exactly the information parents want/need to know when making decisions about what films are appropriate for their family.
    Our children (now 8, 10, 13, and 15) all know that “Mom’s Movie Reviews” is the first place to go before they ask to see or rent a movie when there is any question about whether or not it is appropriate. They have also learned that, even if a film is age appropriate, a low C or D rating might also result in a “no” decision-the movie’s probably not worth their time to watch it!
    I have found no other place to go and hear both the film goers’ perspective AND the parent perspective on movies. Your reviews are consistently articulate and unbiased…and your responses to the wide spectrum of comments your reviews receive also shows your willingness to respectfully hear other points of view-a consideration you are not always shown in return. Thanks for what you do and how well you do it…

  10. Don’t let yourself fooled by his appearance of a nice guy. The movie is stupid from the start.
    First, you shouldn’t let your under 16 years old child watch these obscenities.
    Seeing on tv, right in the start is the new boyfriend of Miss Marshall who is on Hollywood access television info and guess what’s he’s doing, he’s kissing everyone on the mouth in a train station and mimic sex taking by suprise behind her back an old nun who was passing by. Think this is comic for a child?
    Nobody should watch this, even less a child.

  11. Thanks, Alexa. I made it clear in my review that this movie has extremely explicit and raunchy humor. It is not for everyone and it is certainly not for anyone under age 17 or 18.

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