“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is yet another product of what seems to now be Judd Apatow’s relentless comedic war machine, but I am saddened to report that the film, though punctuated by plenty of raunchy, laugh-out-loud moments, was rather bland.
Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is a mopey loser that can’t seem to get over his backstabbing girlfriend, Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). To cope with the situation, his stepbrother persuades him to take a trip to Hawaii. Upon arrival, Peter is dismayed to learn that Sarah is staying at the same hotel as he is with a rock star boyfriend that will screw anything with legs.
From the moment Peter walked up to the hotel’s front desk I was able to predict what would happen for the rest of the film. That’s one of the things I despise about romantic comedies, and this film did nothing to satiate my desire for an original addition to the genre. Whereas in previous films the Apatow crew made the act of making people laugh seem effortless, here the ideas seemed spread thin. The plotline was shallow and can be summarized in a handful of words, without the ingenious twists that are characteristic of Apatow’s previous films. Thankfully, the comedy and the rich cast of characters, played by Apatow network heavyweights such as Jonah Hill (no pun intended), Paul Rudd and Bill Hader, was enough to carry me through to the end.
“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” doesn’t play by all the rules, which is what makes an Apatow film so appealing in the first place. But it doesn’t break as many as I would have liked, either. Although the film had me smiling for almost its entirety I felt myself wanting something a bit deeper. It wasn’t as shocking as “Superbad,” and it lacked the morality of “Knocked Up.” The one unique thing that “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” brings to the table is that, as a romantic comedy, it breaks gender barriers and will be appealing to both guys and gals.