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Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008): ***½

Directed by Nicholas Stoller

The premise: Peter, TV show music composer (Jason Segel), gets dumped by his long-time girlfriend Sarah Marshall, TV star (Kristen Bell). Desperate to get over her (and after a string of disastrous one-night stands) Peter flies off on a whim to Turtle Beach resort in Hawaii, only to find out that Sarah is vacationing there as well... with her new boyfriend Aldous Snow, rock star (Russel Brand). But perhaps gorgeous hotel clerk Rachel (Mila Kunis) can help Peter get over Sarah at last...

This movie is a Judd Apatow production, so it's by the same team that made Freaks & Geeks, Undeclared, Anchorman, 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, etc. Or as one reviewer called them, "romantic comedies for guys."

It's a very funny movie if you liked the other productions on the list above. If you didn't like them then, well, I'm sorry. You might not like Forgetting Sarah Marsall either.

This is a typical Apatow comedy, but the one thing that surprised me most was the fact that the characters are very intelligently written. They're not just types, even the rock star. They're all very layered, complex people with varying amounts of baggage and problems and good points. And the way their relationships are written is very mature (if not the relationships themselves). There really are no heroes or villains in this film. The problems are kinda everybody's fault. Sure, Sarah cheated on Peter and then dumped him, but Peter was boring, inattentive, unadventurous, and slovenly. Sarah tried for a long time to be happy in the relationship, and she tried just about everything... except for talking it through with Peter. And peter was too wrapped up to notice that she wasn't happy. She was too unhappy with their relationship to notice that Peter was a pretty good guy, and he was too oblivious with their relationship to notice that she was unhappy.

Interestingly, as the movie goes on both characters have flashbacks to their relationship. In the flashbacks, Peter begins to (now) notice little things that indicate that his relationship with Sarah wasn't as good as he thought it was. And in Sarah's flashbacks she sees things that make her think that maybe she didn't appreciate her relationship with Peter as much as she should have (especially when things start to go downhill with Aldous).

Rachel has her own baggage that she's trying rather desperately to escape. The only character who is really honest to himself about his feelings is Aldous Snow, but he's horribly narcissistic (he's honest about it, though).

The movie is crammed with hilarious lines and hilarious supporting characters, including Judd Apatow regular Paul Rudd as a surfing instructor and Jonah Hill as a maître-d' who likes Aldous Snow maybe a little bit too much. Also, a supporting actor credit should have gone to Jason Segel's penis, because it's in the movie a surprising amount of times. It's also really the only nudity in the film unless you count a photo of Mila Kunis flashing the camera (we never see the event, just the resulting Polaroid). There's also a wonderfully funny sub-plot involving a puppet musical about Dracula.

Judd Apatow's comedies, apart from being good funny ha-ha times, mostly have an undercurrent of sweetness and intelligence, and this is no exception. It's this intelligence in the script (by Jason Segel himself) that makes Forgetting Sarah Marshall a truly good movie, and not just another wacky raunchy comedy.

And, as a bonus, Mila Kunis is aboslutely, jaw-droppingly beautiful in this movie. She just glows the whole time she's on screen. That didn't hurt the proceedings none, I tell you what.

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