The latest in the Judd Apatow production machine is a movie called Forgetting Sarah Marshall. He is the guy that gave us The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up. However, he didn’t write or direct this one, only produced it. Frankly, this movie isn’t near as good as either of those flicks.
The movie centers around sad-sack Peter who in the first scene gets dumped by his TV star girlfriend of 5 years while in the buff. That’s right. We’re treated to a little full frontal male nudity not 5 minutes into the flick. Not that there is anything wrong with that… Did it feel a little gratuitous? Yes. Was it necessary to tell the story? That is questionable.
After being dumped we see him quickly bed a string of women trying to get Sarah out of his mind. Of course it doesn’t work. So, mired in depression, his step-brother convinces him to take a trip. He picks Hawaii (since Sarah always told him it was nice). He ends up at the Turtle Bay Resort to try to get away. Since you’ve seen the previews, you already know that his ex and her new lothario boyfriend are at the same resort. Having seen “this” movie more than once, you can predict what is going to happen. Boy is sad and crying. Girl is happy with her new fling. Boy meets new person. Girl’s new fling falls apart. Boy gets serious with new girl. Old girl gets jealous. Old girl breaks up with new boyfriend and wants Boy back. Boy thinks about it but ultimately refuses and stays together with new girl. The end.
This movie was no exception to that rule.
There were positives to this movie. There were some scenes that were legitimately funny. Frankly, anything with Paul Rudd is a winner in my book, and he stole every scene he was in. Also, Jack McBrayer from my favorite TV show 30 Rock played the bit part of an overly religious newlywed who is sexually inexperienced but whose new bride was raring to go. Very funny stuff.
I mentioned that this flick was set at Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of O’ahu. Well, interestingly enough, I’ve been there! Granted, it was in a previous life and all but it was totally fun to see places that I recognized in the background. The bar I drank at. The pool we swam in. The beach we chilled on. Of course, they have totally remodeled a bunch of stuff since I was there in December of ’04. It was, and is, a beautiful place though, even if my memories of it are a bit tainted now.
There were problems with this movie, unfortunately. First, the lead actor (who also wrote the movie) Jason Segal simply isn’t that good of an actor. I mean, he is pretty wooden and one dimensional on the screen. I don’t know if it is because he is sorta the straight man in the flick, but he just didn’t seem to bring a lot to the table. Maybe it’s just me.
The bigger problem I had with this movie was with the director/editor. I don’t know who’s fault it is, but there were some major problems with the assembly of this movie. The scenes themselves really felt just tacked together. There was a complete lack of establishing shots (ie. setting up the scene) for the entire movie. We would just magically pop into a location and they’re going. Same with the end of scenes. They would just cut off. There didn’t seem to be any wrap-ups for the scene. Nothing to lead us into the next scene. Every scene kinda had that feel of a Saturday Night Live skit that went on too long because they had no idea how to end it. Only for 2 hours.
That’s another thing. It was too long. I’ve always said, I don’t mind long movies at all. If you need that time to tell the story, then take it. I’ve watched the combined Godfather I and II consecutively more than once. I do, however, have a problem with movies that just dawdle. That’s what this movie does. It seems like they went back and hit the same jokes over and over. Yes, we get it… the waiter has a man-crush (maybe more) on the lotario. Move on already! Maybe it was because of the lack of establishing shots made it feel longer, but it really felt, to me, they could have cut an easy 2o to 30 minutes out of it. Tighten up the whole thing.
I think that the lack of continuity in this thing really lead to a bunch of problems, now that I think about it. The next thing I was going to comment on was that there didn’t feel like there was much of a dramatic arc to the story. Again, since nothing was tied together, it just felt flat.
I’m wondering if this is all just me. I mean, this movie has gotten 85% Fresh on rottentomatoes.com. I guess, I would give this movie maybe a 60%. I mean, I have to admit I enjoyed some parts. I did laugh more than once. But, as a whole, this movie was not well done. I don’t think the fault lies with the writer, or the actors themselves, but with the first time director and whoever it was that edited the thing.
I am interested to hear your thoughts, if any of you have seen it.