Hawaiian getaway turns foul

Alex Bethke

Alex Bethke

The Judd Apatow gang is back for another genius comedy. The so-called ‘gang’ spawned when Apatow produced cult-favorite TV shows Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. They are more recently known for the hit movies Superbad, Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin. This time, it’s Jason Segel’s turn at glory as he both wrote and stars in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Peter (Segel) is a lovable teddy bear who is rather sensitive for a guy. He’s a musician with a good steady job in Hollywood. He composes music for a hit TV crime show much like that of CSI. He’s really low key and a bit of an underachiever. Peter enjoys lying on the couch in cheap sweatpants while eating an entire box of Fruit Loops out of a giant popcorn bowl. He’s in a five-year relationship with the star of the same TV show he writes music for, Sarah Marshall.

Sarah (Kristen Bell) decides she’s through with the relationship, leaving Peter devastated and weeping?constantly. Peter decides he needs to get away for awhile to get over his ex and leaves on vacation for Hawaii. However, upon his arrival, Peter discovers Sarah and her new Brit-rocker boyfriend Aldous (Russell Brand- Penelope) are also vacationing at the same resort.

Having come alone, Peter befriends several members of the hotel staff. The adventurous front desk girl Rachel (Mila Kunis- That ’70s Show, Moving McAllister) can relate to Peter as she too is recovering from a break up. The two become obviously attracted to each other, which leads to several awkward encounters with Sarah and Aldous.

The movie is not a gut-busting comedy, but you will chuckle several times at the wisecracks, awkward moments, Dracula puppet theater songs, raunchy sex scenes and of course ? full frontal male nudity that pushes the limits of R-rated standards.

I have to admit I was a little skeptical about Segel being the lead role in the film. He’s great as a supporting role in Knocked Up, but I just didn’t think of him as funny enough to be the lead. I was wrong. Segel opens the comedy right away by both beginning and ending the movie with scenes that expose his private parts. He uses his sensitivity, or rather lack of being masculine, to make the audience feel sorry for him and care about him. We feel that Sarah Marshall is obviously evil and wrong for leaving him.

Kristen Bell does a good job of convincing the audience that Sarah is not as heinous as we think she is. As the movie goes on we find Sarah had her reasons for leaving Peter. She shows this vulnerable side to her that allows us to feel partially sorry for her while feeling that way for Peter as well.

Mila Kunis, who looks absolutely stunning compared to how I remember her on That ’70s Show (I’m sure the tan and up-to-date clothing had a lot to do with it), gives Rachel compassionate warmth while maintaining a free-spirited wild side. She helps Peter by letting him stay in a $6,000 a night suite for free, and then later gets him to leap off a cliff. She kisses Peter to make Sarah jealous, and then in one of my favorite scenes, Sarah and Rachel have a ‘moaning’ match through the walls to try to make each other jealous, as their hotel rooms are coincidentally adjacent to each other. Rachel helps Peter out of his funk, but in the end, I think Peter does the same for Rachel.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is right there with Knocked Up in that they are both cutting edge romantic comedies. They almost create a new breed of romantic comedy. They’re not the same old romantic comedies your mom likes with Drew Barrymore or Meg Ryan. They’re a new kind of romantic comedy fit for our generation. There won’t be any guys being embarrassed when their girlfriends drag them to this one. In fact, if anything, it might be the other way around.