This Week in Movies: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

David Ashton

In recent years, movies spawned from the mind of film maker Judd Apatow have made a lasting impression on the comedy genre. I can’t count the number of times I have sat laughing hysterically with friends while reciting hilarious lines from Superbad, Knocked Up and The 40-Year Old Virgin. Apatow’s most recent addition to the movie world is Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Unfortunately, after you see this film, “forgetting” is exactly what you will be doing.

The basic premise of FSM is nothing new. It’s the classic “boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy wallows in self-pity and cries himself to sleep every night because he wants girl back.” And trust me, the main character Peter (Jason Segel) does a ton of childish, infantile crying. His best friend Brian (Bill Heder) is fed up with Peter moping around eating salad bowls full of Fruit Loops for every meal. So he tells him the best thing to do is take a vacation to a foreign country: Hawaii. Peter figures Hawaii is the perfect elixir to help him forget about his television star Sarah and, in doing so, get his life back together. Wrong. When Peter arrives at the hotel he runs face to face with his ex-girlfriend (Kristen Bell) and her new boyfriend, English pop star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). This sends Peter into an even deeper depression. All hope for Peter seems to be lost until he meets Rachel (Mila Kunis), a cute hotel worker with an adventurous spirit and an infectious personality. What ensues is an out of control semi-romantic vacation full of disaster. A sex-obsessed tourist, a weird surf instructor, a quick witted bar tender and an overweight employee with pop star ambitions (Jonah Hill) all do their share in adding to the mayhem.

FSM is not a bad movie by any means, but it wasn’t a good movie either. The funniest scenes of the movie almost all revolved around Aldous Snow. Usually in films involving a breakup, the new boyfriend/girlfriend character comes off as a total douche. Aldous is exactly the opposite. His facial expressions and deadpan honesty make him funny and incredibly likable. In the opening scene of the movie, we see him in a music video singing a song titled “We’ve Got to Do Something.” The song and video, which are a parody of musicians who talk about climate change and so forth, feature him singing about nonsense, making humping movements with his hips, holding up signs that say things like “sodomize intolerance” and making out with random people on the street. In another scene, he has a hilarious piece of dialogue where he makes fun of Sarah’s movie (she plays a television star in FSM) about a cell phone that murders people.

Let me be frank (you can be Sam), Snow stole the show and without him this movie would have been terrible. This is a testimony to Blake’s acting schools, but it also reflects the lack of humor in the rest of the film. A member of the supporting cast outshining the lead is never a good sign. Can you imagine if someone had outshined Jim Carey in Ace Ventura Pet Detective or Bobby Di Cicco in Ghoulies IV? I didn’t think so. The verdict is in: Thumbs down.