Andy Bockelman: No forgetting 'Sarah Marshall'


— Suffering from a broken heart is one thing, but having to nurse it on vacation is quite another. This is especially true when you literally cannot get rid of your ex, like the hapless hero of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."

Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is a man who is utterly devoted to his girlfriend, television beauty Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). When she drops the bomb on him that she wants to break up, he is absolutely devastated.

A string of meaningless one-night stands only adds to his depression, and soon his whole life grinds to a halt.

His stepbrother, Brian (Bill Hader), persuades him to get away for awhile in order to clear his head. Peter heads to Hawaii in the hopes of lifting his spirits, but the problems are just getting more plentiful. He stays at the exact same hotel is Sarah, with her new boyfriend (Russell Brand) in tow.

Segel is very agreeable as the sadsack romantic, who keeps getting tortured in multiple ways by the presence of the woman who wounded him. "Veronica Mars" star Bell is pragmatic in her turn as the title girl, avoiding making Sarah out to be just a sadistic ex-girlfriend.

Mila Kunis is cute and refreshing as Rachel, a hotel employee who empathizes with Peter's situation, and thusly begins dating him.

Brand is comical as Sarah's new beau, Aldous Snow, the lead singer of a band called Infant Sorrow and whose libido is just as confounding.

This quartet is surrounded by a colorful array of hotel staff and guests, including Jonah Hill as a gawky waiter, Paul Rudd as a slow-witted surfing instructor and Jack McBrayer and Maria Thayer as a honeymooning couple with distressing troubles in the boudoir.

Besides starring in the film, Segel also wrote the screenplay, allegedly paralleling numerous experiences in his own life.

With Judd Apatow as a producer, it is not surprising there is such a fine blend of crudeness and genuine human emotion, typified in predecessors such as "Knocked Up" and "Superbad."

Though it is an acquired taste, it is served up as a sumptuous feast of a romantic comedy.

"Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is the type of movie that will not be soon forgotten.


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