Forgetting Sarah Marshall Holds Up After 14 Years

L-R: Jonah Hill, Mila Kunis, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, and Kristen Bell in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Courtesy of Universal.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall still holds up fourteen years after the raunchy comedy was released in theaters back in 2008.

One year after Seth Rogen broke through in Knocked Up and Jonah Hill did the same in Superbad, it was Jason Segel’s turn. Obviously, he was already starring on How I Met Your Mother at this point. But being in the Judd Apatow-produced film gave Segel a way to show off his raunchy side with a bigger role. Much like the film gives Segel a big way to break out, the film offers Mila Kunis the same opportunity after starring on That ’70s Show and voicing a role on Family Guy. If you weren’t familiar with Kunis before this film, you certainly became a fan as a result.

After suddenly breaking up after five years with his TV star girlfriend Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) heads off to Hawaii to get his ex-girlfriend off his mind. Unfortunately for Peter, Sarah is vacationing at the same exact hotel. It’s been three weeks and Sarah is now dating rock star and Infinite Sorrow lead singer Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). What else can he do but starting hanging out with Turtle Bay receptionist Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis). Peter and Rachel grow close over the course of a few days in Hawaii. Is this just a rebound fling or the start of a long-term relationship? The film falls along the traditional rom-com beats as Rachel breaks up with Peter after he fools around with Sarah. It’s a bad idea on his part but things seem to rectify themselves when he premieres his Dracula puppet musical, A Taste of Love.

On one hand, it’s amazing to look at the Apatow-produced comedies over the years. Peter Bretter is the typical man-child to be a leading role in the film. He’s no different of a character than what we’ve seen from the likes of Steve Carell or Seth Rogen. It’s a running theme over the years and I’d like to think that such characters are maturing as both comedy tastes and the environment change. For what it’s worth, Forgetting Sarah Marshall has just the right mix between romance and raunchiness. There are no shortage of laughs and Segel draws from real-life when he stays nude during the entire break-up scene.

A number of Apatow regulars appear in supporting or minor roles. Among them are Bill Hader, Jack McBrayer, Jonah Hill and Paul Rudd. Even though Hill and Rudd have decent screen time, the film does not include them in the main cast titles. Hill’s work alone shows us why he’s a master at improvisation on screen.

How do we not yet have an Animal Instincts series in real life or even a spin-off movie? Personally, I would watch that series or film and it would be so much better than spin-off movie Get Him to the Greek!

Hands down, this film is among the best of the collaborations between Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel. Obviously, The Muppets is their best film together in any capacity but Forgetting Sarah Marshall runs a close second. Overall, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is in the upper tier of Judd Apatow-produced films.

DIRECTOR; Nicholas Stoller
CAST: Jason Segel, Kirsten Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Bill Hader

Universal released Forgetting Sarah Marshall in theaters on April 18, 2008. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.