Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Last night, I saw a sneak preview of Forgetting Sarah Marshall which comes out on April 18th. It’s another installment from Judd Apatow and the gang. This time Jason Segel (Marshall from How I met Your Mother) takes the reigns. (My buddy JMC doesn’t like Marshall, but I think he is very likable and would love to hang out with him.) Not only does Segel star in the movie, but he wrote it as well (his 1st script.)

It was refreshing to leave a movie and actually feel like I got my money’s worth (it was free, but still…) The basic plot is this: Peter is dating a famous young actress (Kristin Bell) and they’re in love. When she dumps him, he becomes depressed (think Mikey from Swingers, but funnier.) He decides a vacation to Hawaii will heal his pain; little does he know that his ex and her new British rocker boyfriend are at the same hotel.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a really funny movie. It delivers a bunch of big laughs, and it also has lots of heart. You could actually tell that they took the time to flesh out the characters, jokes, and scenes. They don’t all work, but the intentions are there. The movie doesn’t heavily rely on the same one liner or the easy gross-out joke.

Segel holds his own and Mila Kunis (see below) is delicious. Paul Rudd and Jonah Hill have small roles, but are pretty funny as well. Even the British rock star (Russell Brand) had some great lines!

Mila Kunis plays the hotel employee that Segel flirts with. She is so HOT! I can’t believe this is her first real movie—where the hell has she been since That 70’s Show ended? She is now on my list of Top 5 Celebrity Chicks I’d like to have “coffee” with. She joins Rachel Bilson (I love Summer), Jessica Biel (Go Tufts!), Jessica Alba (although she’s kissed Dane Cook) and Jessica Simpson (same as Alba.)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is not a classic, but it is very entertaining. Take out the eccentric vampire jokes and male nudity**, and you got yourself a great movie.

(**There are a number of scenes with male full frontal nudity. My readers in Chelsea, West Hollywood, and Chueca excluded, you may want to shield your eyes for the first fifteen minutes.)


Judd Apatow is on a roll and has become one of the best comedy producers in Hollywood. The list of successful movies in the last three years include: 40 Year-old Virgin, Knocked Up, SuperBad, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (not great, but still funny), and now Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Apatow has been smart; he’s formed friendships and basically collected a group of talented and underrated actors/writers (see Freaks N’ Geeks.) If there was a Moneyball about movie making Judd Apatow would be Theo Epstein or Billy Beane. It’s like Apatow has his own farm system, and everyone he calls up, succeeds. You see the same names and faces in all of his movies: Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill (the fat kid), Paul Rudd, and now Peter Segel----He lets them write, contribute, and improvise their work. As a result, we’re seeing comedies that are funny and also have some heart. I think of non-Apatow comedies I’ve seen recently, (Good Luck Chuck, Licensed to Wed) and I cringe. Apatow has created an amazing formula:

Smart Actors/Writers with Creative Freedom
Taboo Subjects (sex, drugs)

= Hit after Hit.

(By the way, if anyone knows him, I wrote a great script he might like to read.)

Movie Jail

Mid-way through the movie, some random guy kept yelling out jokes. Two people chuckled which encouraged his tirade of hideous one-liners. It took 3 or 4 “SHUT UPs!” over a course of 20 minutes to make him stop. I don’t believe this should ever be allowed, but I guess if a movie is terrible, sometimes it’s OK. But not only was he distracting us from a good movie, but he wasn’t funny either. He basically ruined 20 minutes of the film for all of us except the two stupid people who laughed.

So I have a theory to prevent this…the MOVIE JAIL. Offenders include the man from above, idiots on their cell phones, and d-bags that talk to each other throughout the movie. These offenders will be escorted to the lobby and imprisoned in a confined yet hospitable jail cell. I will neither encourage nor prevent abiding audience members from throwing popcorn and such at the perpetrators as they walk by the prison. Once the film ends, the offenders will be released, and hopefully will have learned a valuable lesson. Don’t ruin my movies!

This might seem a bit extreme, but I feel it will improve the overall movie viewing experience for all of us.

(I was on a date and actually brought up the movie jail. She was repulsed, and I never heard from her again. My theory is that she talks on her cell phone during movies, and feared I would turn her in. The other theory is that she thought I was really weird.)


Anonymous said...

Movie jail is an awesome idea! If people think they should be allowed to ruin two hours of our lives by talking or making noise during a movie, we should be able to ruin 2 hours of their lives by making them sit in jail! The punishment perfectly fits the crime!


Yep, agree with movie jail! Nothing worse than having someone spoil a movie with noise!


gmish said...

movie jail, genius... and brings to mind way too many amusing scenarios

Tanner said...

I too support movie jail! And it should also be for people who text during movies. I hate those idiots! They think, "oh, it doesn't make noise, so it's fine" but 1) it DOES make noise and 2) it's really, really fucking annoying to sit next to someone with an obnoxiously bright little LIGHT in their palm!

I thought Russell Brand (as the British rocker) was actually the funniest part of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which is really saying something given the company he's in!