DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Forgetting Sarah Marshall - DVD Review



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</script></div>{/googleAds}Judd Apatow, the creative mega-force behind such raunchy, male rom-coms as The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Superbad, has his formula down to a science. Freaks and Geeks/ Undeclared alumni taking turns at top-billing, director's chair, writing credits or improv cameos? Check. Gorgeous women falling for geeks and stoners with dough-boy bellies and outrageous jewfros? Check. Semi-autobiographical story about your pathetic self with a little heart thrown in amongst the genitalia-obsessed humor? Check. Hired only your closest friends like Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, or Seth Rogan, to mercilessly poke fun at you while in the throws of male-separation anxiety, unexpected pregnancy, or in the case of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a broken heart? Check, check, check and ... check.

True, this go-round Apatow only extends his producing creds to Jason Segal's (Knocked Up, How I Met Your Mother) Hawaiian-ode to Sarah-Marshall-on-the-brain; but with Undeclared graduate Nicholas Stoller directing, and all the usual suspects flying in to get lei'd, it certainly has Apatow's filthy, mainland fingerprints all over it.

Based in-part on his own private heartaches, Segal plays Peter Brenner, a struggling musician whose on-hold dream of creating a rock opera with puppets (think Dracula meets Avenue Q) is replaced with orchestrating â"dark, ominous tones" for the hit television series Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime. For the schlubby, sweatpants-wearing couch potato that prefers eating Fruit Loops from a mixing bowl and watching Inside Edition as opposed to using the treadmill, it's merely a paycheck; but when the fringe benefits include dating the show's beautiful co-star, Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), it's your entire universe. That is, of course, until she decides you will no longer be the guy holding her purse on the red carpet.

Laid back and not afraid to go full frontal, Peter thinks that Sarah's surprise visit is to take advantage of his fresh-out-of-the-shower ensemble; but when she drops the break-up bombshell, the towel drops with it. Completely. (A hand-to-God page taken from Jason Segal's own book of love gone awry. Ouch.) Emotionally - and literally - naked, Peter begs Sarah not to leave him, but the damage is done. Besides, the witch admits that she has already moved on to â"bigger" and better things.

Forgetting Sarah MarshallShattered, and resigned to a life sound-tracked by Morrissey, Peter tries to mask the pain through a series of awkward (and rather comical) one-night stands. But when even â"putting your P into a V" doesn't heal the hurt, Peter takes his stepbrother's (Bill Hader) advice and escapes to Hawaii for some impromptu relaxation void of everything Sarah Marshall. Problem is, Ms. Marshall is not so easy to forget. Not only is she the spokesperson of Peter's chosen airline, as well as the in-flight entertainment, but when Peter walks through the Turtle Bay Resort (which he finds is booked solid), it's a bikini clad Sarah Marshall that he sees hanging on the arm of self-adoring, British rock lothario, Aldous Snow (Russell Brand).

Before he can even insert the knife and twist, sympathetic - and super hot - hotel concierge Rachel (Mila Kunis, That 70's Show) recognizes the embarrassing exchange and rescues him by announcing that Peter's $6,000/ night rock-star suite is ready. (Of course once out of Sarah's earshot, Rachel demands that in order to stay in the sympathy suite, Peter must not only clean-up after himself and stop blubbering like a man-baby, but make haste when Dakota Fanning and her peeps arrive.) When Peter agrees, and the regular cast of characters land on the scene, you can practically hear the comedic wheels kick into place; disaster in paradise lies ahead.

Needless to say, Sarah is none too happy about Peter's island presence, let alone the amount of time he is suddenly spending with party-girl Rachel. And in one of the most romantic destinations - smothered in at-dinner proposals, beachfront weddings, couples having non-stop honeymoon-sex, and Aldous publicly serenading Sarah with the amorous hit â"Inside of You" - it seems almost impossible that Peter could actually forget about the love he has for Sarah Marshall. That is, of course, until he finds it in everything she's not.

There's no denying that Forgetting Sarah Marshall is textbook Apatow; and thanks to Segal's sharp comedic turn at The Pathetic Man and a smartly-written script that lets it all hang out, he proves a rather accomplished student. Granted, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is definitely not as funny as The 40 Year Old Virgin, not nearly as cozy as Knocked Up, and certainly not as raunchy as Superbad, but what makes it so unforgettable - aside from some killer one-liners and hysterical cameos from familiar faces - is that, like its predecessors, it strikes a universal nerve and then finds humor in the heartbreak.

Branded as the manufacturers of male comedy, the self-proclaimed Jew-Tang Clan has created quite a niche for itself. Although many have labeled their freak and geek mentality as the anti-chick flick, Segal & Co. actually have a knack for creating - amidst the fluctuating hormones and peek-a-boo breasts - strong female leads with razor-sharp tongues and bitch-slap charm. Kunis and Bell shine as the quintessential geek's fantasy achieved, and Bell certainly earns extra credit for not only her hardened comedic chops, but sitting through dinner while being incessantly razzed about her horror hack-job, Pulse. Yet in spite of Sarah Marshall's dirty-dog deeds, Segal smartly chooses to never completely demonize her. His talented hand ensures that the female undercurrent pulls the sheets off both sides of the bed, and in one scene, actually makes us point a finger towards the man who cried foul. Mahalo to that.

Dropping in on Segal's wave and helping to ride this film home are friends Rudd, as an aged surfer whose brain is fried from the Hawaiian herb; Hill, as a waiter obsessively man-crushing on Aldous Snow; 30 Rock's Jack McBrayer, as a virginal newlywed who finds navigating the female anatomy like trying to crack the Da Vinci Code; SNL's Kristen Wiig, who in the much-recommended unrated version, plays a passive-aggressive yoga instructor with touchy-feely tendencies; Carla Gallo (Virgin's â"Toe-Sucking Girl," Superbad's â"Period Blood Girl"), as Peter's â"Gag Me Girl"; and SNL's Hader as Peter's good-natured, voice of reason (â"Pump the brakes!"). However, audiences will agree that the show-stealer is improv comedian Russell Brand as the over-relaxed mate, who despite wearing his sexuality on his sarong, is so damn likeable that even Peter has difficulty staying riled at his replacement.

With the success of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and moviegoers insatiable fix for flip-flops and leather pants, Segal and Stoller will be teaming up yet again (as co-writers, with Stoller directing) on the upcoming Apatow Production, Get Him To The Greek. A Forgetting Sarah Marshall spin-off, Jonah Hill will star as the insurance adjuster assigned to ensuring that the back-off-the-wagon rocker, Aldous Snow, makes it to a concert at the L.A. Greek Theatre in one piece. And as if that weren't enough, Jason Segal has also been slated (thanks in part to his Peter Brenner rock opera) to pen the new Muppets movie. So, who's laughing now, Sarah Marshall?

Actually, we are, thanks to the small dose, non-sequitur comedy of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the arrival of the emotional, man-boob wreckage that is Jason Segal. Is his debut, tropical joyride that combines relationship lows with sexual hijinks, a perfect comedy? Not by any means. In fact, this far-fetched vacation stays a little too long, and was not nearly as much fun as expected. But for those of us who love the romantically-raunchy, no-holds-barred comedy that is Team Apatow - and of course, Segal's cojones to come full-circle with the Full Monty - it's more than enough.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
3 Stars
3 Stars
DVD Experience
3 Stars

DVD

DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Language and Sound: English: DTS 5.1 HD; French: DTS 5.1 Surround; Spanish: DTS 5.1 Surround

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; deleted scenes; gag reel; music video; cast and crew interviews; making-of featurette; behind-the-scenes featurette; trailer; audio commentary; extended version of the movie.

* Commentary
o Feature-length commentary track featuring director Nick Stoller, executive producer Rodney Rothman, producer Shauna Robertson, Jason Segel, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Russell Brand and Jack McBrayer.
* Deleted Scenes - 6 scenes that didn't make the final cut. Can be played separately or with a "play all" function.
* Featurettes:
o Line-O-Rama (07:49)
o Gag Reel (05:44)
o Raw Footage (07:14)
o Dracula's Lament table read (03:17)
o A Taste for Love (06:18)
o We've Got to do Something (03:48)
* Previews - red band trailer

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging

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